BASW: Social workers excluded from mental health workforce plans

Social workers have been excluded from the government’s plans to tackle the mental health workforce, BASW has warned.

The government’s plans to expand the mental health workforce by 21,000 new posts, fails to give attention to the contribution that social workers and other allied health professionals can bring.

BASW, UKCP, BACP, the BPS and the RCSLT have united to raise concerns to Professor Ian Cumming, CEO, HEE and Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director, NHS, saying the production and consultation of the plans was “inadequate both in terms of distribution and timescale” and “excludes the majority of professional bodies, charities and experts-by-experience”.

A letter to Professor Cumming and Ms Murdoch acknowledges that while psychiatry is an important part of the mental health workforce, “opportunities have been and will be missed to develop and deliver the best quality services by ignoring the wider workforce”.

The negative effect on people of focusing on a small section of the mental health workforce and setting aside the considerable contribution also made by other sections of the workforce will be great, the letter warns.

The organisations conclude by urging HEE and the NHS to engage and collaborate with all professions and experts from the wider mental health workforce moving forward to ensure the strategy “provides an accurate and agreed reflection of their potential contribution and provides the best outcomes for service users”.

The letter is signed by BASW, the British Psychological Society, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

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