The first cohort of graduates to complete a ground-breaking programme aimed at tackling a shortage of psychological professionals in the NHS have recently received their certificates at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).Advertisement
Led by the Innovation Agency, funded by Health Education England and with recruitment through Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, UCLan has also played a lead role in delivering training towards a new Postgraduate Diploma Associate Practitioner Psychologist (PGDip APP).
On Friday 4 March, the 50 Trainee Associate Psychological Practitioners (TAPPs) from hospitals, community and primary care networks in the North West, received their qualification certificates as Associate Psychological Practitioners (APPs).
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The initiative is helping to plug the gap in shortages of mental health practitioners, while providing a much-needed graduate pathway for psychology professionals.
Following the presentation of certificates an evaluation report highlighting the programme’s positive impact was unveiled.
This pilot has been vital in developing the foundations for the new nationally led Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner role.
UCLan is one of the education providers who will contribute towards training 800 people in this new role over the next two years leading to improved support for adults with severe mental health problems.
The University’s joint course director Dr Mark Roy said: “The intention behind this programme has been to develop a new and sustainable supply of qualified practitioners into psychological roles and reduce the significant workforce gaps that exist in this area.
“Our first cohort of students have done exceptionally well. They have shown that not only is a 12-month educational training programme effective in developing professional and psychological competencies, but that TAPPs are highly valued members of the workforce.
“They are positively impacting on patients through the provision of psychological support, improving patient wellbeing and indirectly reducing waiting lists.”
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Dr Miranda Budd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at LSCft and Clinical Lead for (T)APPs, said: “I feel so proud of all the APPs who have just qualified from the first cohort. I’ve worked closely with the 24 who worked in Primary Care Network settings and they have done a fantastic job.
“In just nine months, they’ve delivered one-to-one wellbeing sessions to over 1,000 individuals and over 1,200 people attended some of the wellbeing workshops delivered within local communities.
“I’m really looking forward to cohort two starting later this month and wish everyone who has completed their qualification and those about to begin, the very best for what I hope are long, successful and exciting careers ahead.”
The Postgraduate Diploma Associate Practitioner Psychologist programme is now being evaluated with a view to being extended nationally.
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