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We introduce new roles and expand existing ones in mental health services throughout England

New roles in mental health

Introducing new roles into mental health services, or expanding existing roles, form a key part of HEE’s Mental Health Programme. The programme has focused on expanding and maximising the potential of the workforce in eight key roles across health and social care. This is key to achieving ambitions of the Long Term Plan. The work focuses on upskilling, new ways of working, supply, new roles and leadership.

This project also features in the 19/20 HEE Mandate:

supporting the delivery and expansion of innovative recently created roles in MH by implementation of agreed priority work streams which have been identified as having the greatest impact in mental health services in transforming the workforce as set out in Stepping Forward and the Long Term Plan

 [LTP ref P.90]

HEE has set up New Roles Task and Finish Groups to oversee the introduction, expansion or upskilling, of the following roles:

  1. Allied Health Professionals
  2. Mental health nursing and nursing associates
  3. Peer support workers
  4. Pharmacy and pharmacy technicians 
  5. Physician associates
  6. Psychological professions
  7. Social workers

The need for a national approach to introducing new roles in mental health settings was confirmed by HEE’s Mental Health and Dementia Programme Board  in July 2018.

A partnership of arm’s length bodies and regulators recommended a focus on eight roles likely to have the greatest impact in transforming the workforce. This will help deliver the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, Chapter 7 of Stepping Forward: New skills, roles and ways of working, and the new service models described in the Clinical Pathways.













- Escalating the spread and adoption of the role in Mental Health

- Maximising the potential of the workforce in Mental Health

- Addressing the shortage of supply.

For people who access mental health services include:

- improved access to services at an earlier stage by addressing the shortage of supply

- services available and accessible at the right time; and

- services delivered in a more integrated way, to help embed mental health services into the NHS

Alongside the introduction of new roles, the programme aims to support new ways of working; developing an integrated workforce culture that empowers the breakthrough of system barriers; and maximising the potential of the current and future workforce including professionals working at the top of their professional licence and scope of practice