The Health Secretary needs a Psychologist appointment was the title of an article recently published in the Health Services Journal (HSJ). The HSJ for those who may not know is a professional journal aimed at managers and senior leads in health and socialcare. The article sets out reasons why a chief psychologist is needed. It describes the advisory role the individual would provide. These include (taken from the article):
- Patient safety in hospitals to help prevent adverse clinical events.
- Reducing misdiagnosis in general practice settings, since cognitive factors are often at play in this type of costly mistake.
- Public health campaigns to promote healthier living in domains such as obesity and smoking.
- Achieving higher levels of organ donation and blood donation.
- Clinical and research priorities in the field of dementia.
- The psychology of whistleblowing and of raising concerns in healthcare settings.
- The value of talking therapies for mental health conditions.
- How the science of compassion can be brought to bear on the behaviour of healthcare staff.
- Psychological perspectives in the management of long term conditions.
- Psychological aspects of the design of care homes for the elderly.
Many of these are areas that the PPN North West seeks to influence with your input and support. Examples of this include our contributions as clinicians to the working with dementia, long term conditions as well as in mental health settings. Our communities of practice seek to showcase the work that is being done with our area and demonstrates our value and essential contribution. There is also work in supporting staff to work compassionately with a number of initiatives (see Health Education North West’s Compassionate Care Day). The network is keen to develop these communities of practice and also consider how we can support innovation and develop the contribution of psychological practice in the wider range of areas highlighted above.
PPN North West would be really keen to see the establishments of a chief psychological professions officer to ensure that psychological approaches are recognised as an essential part of health and social care. There would also be a national influence on the delivery and development of health care. We think such a role should lead and represent all psychological professionals. The PPN in the North West would welcome the opportunity to work with this role to promote what we do more widely and enable the setting up of similar networks in other areas in England.
So far in the North West, we have created a network with 800 members which comprise approximately 20% of the psychological professions workforce in the North West. None of this would be possible without the input and support for all of you. This has all taken place in less than 12 months. This critical mass clearly demonstrates the need for our network and how we can demonstrate the value of psychological approaches to patients, service users, and carers. We can contribute to the national picture on psychological approaches and their importance and by our collective efforts show the need to have a national voice.