ACP asks well trained mental health practitioners what they would need in order to stay in the NHS

The Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt is claiming that the Government’s Mental Health expansion plan (announced on Monday) is going to be the “biggest expansions of mental health services in Europe". Whilst the Department of Health said the new fund would properly integrate mental and physical health services for the first time. 

The plans have been met with scepticism from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) questioning whether enough people could be trained in time to deliver the services. Other sources are concerned that although this announcement is a positive step towards parity of esteem between physical and mental health, it doesn’t go far enough to address the crisis in retaining of staff and staff morale. All ACP members have undergone a lengthy NHS based Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) training which recently has been under threat through potential changes in funding. In addition to this, many of our members report poor working conditions and a growing frustration that children and young people with some of the most complex difficulties are not getting access to the specialist treatment they need.

They also say that specialists are more likely to be asked to provide very short-term assessments and are then spending huge amounts of time inputting data onto electronic systems, rather than seeing more children. This means that well trained clinicians are leaving their NHS mental health posts because it has become too difficult for them to stay.

We are therefore inviting those who work in NHS mental health services to let us (and Jeremy Hunt) know what they need in order to stay, and continue to support and grow what currently appears to be a very beleaguered workforce. Have your say by using #reasontostay.


#reason to stay

gvivian's picture

I will almost certainly leave the CAMHS team in which I have worked for over 20 years next year.  I have a special class of pension and although I could return and my team needs me,  I am not inclined to stay.  The biggest barrier to my continuation is that I now work in a Social Enterprise, in which contracts are carried out at the lowest cost point possible.  Clinical leadership and expertise are no longer welcome in this environment where capitol is king.  Complex and long term mental health needs are expected to reduce with short term models, which burn out staff and put children and young people in an ever revolving door.  We work with locum Doctors who do not have the full Royal College of Psychiatry training to be child Psychiatrists or even have a qualification specific to psychiatry.  Prescribing for children is on a scale I have never witnessed before and we do not have systems equipped to cope with this.  All of this makes the work much harder to bear than it was in 2010.  Our staff team has been deleted, most notably of more highly qualified clinicians.  Specialsit forensic assessments for example are now contracted out to private companies as the expertise no longer exists ( and nobody has been allowed to train ) for this work in the team.  As an older more experienced colleague I am provided with only the bear minimum of resources to complete my central tasks and many aspects of my job description have not been possible to fulfill, such as undertaking research.  This has effectively turned my post into a dead end with no possiblity to extend or advance my abilities or to lead service change which I would have been very interested to do.  The trainings undertaken by staff to partake in IAPT have been well recieved, but they only serve perhaps 25% of out population.  The CORC machinery takes a lot out of clinical time and gives very little back, so it appears to be a centralised farce serving only its own ends.  I would stay if CORC became de-centralised and team/ locality focused.  If clinicians became empowered to develop systems appropriate to their needs and if managers in healthcare listened to the needs of their staff and patients.  How hard is that?  Most of my career has been in systems where those objectives were demonstrably met.