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New roles in mental health

Introducing new roles into mental health services, or expanding existing roles, is a key part of HEE’s Mental Health Programme. The workstream 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.

- 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.

Good practice in developing new workforce roles is a suite of resources that have been built on good working practice. They advise workforce designers when modelling supply and demand, whilst supporting NHS and Social Care employers, creating sustainable new roles that are worthwhile and offer good career opportunities for the staff filling them. The resources are on our e-Learning for Healthcare website. Other electronic formats are available on request, email mentalhealth@hee.nhs.uk

The Multi-Professional Approved/Responsible Clinicians Implementation Guide ensures we make the best use of our skilled and professionally diverse workforce. This role allows patients to benefit from the unique perspectives of nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists. This guidance has been developed using an expert advisory group (consisting of approved clinicians from the four eligible professions, representatives of mental health trusts across England and professional bodies).  A key driver for this work is providing an opportunity to keep senior clinicians in clinical practice and providing direct patient care.

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