An interim plan that outlines how the NHS will recruit more staff has been published.

While the main section of the interim NHS People Plan focuses on recruitment of nurses and doctors, an important additional briefing document looks at plans to expand the psychological therapy workforce.

It refers to the national psychological professions workforce programme, and other themes of work which we’re already actively involved in on behalf of our members.

The programme will set out what needs to happen to ensure a successful expansion of the psychological workforce within the NHS.

The briefing document says four new themes will be covered as part of an interim psychological workforce plan that will be published later this year.

These themes are: creating and implementing a national psychological professions strategy, developing a national workforce programme for all psychological professions, enhancing training and career paths for psychological professionals, and delivering the right leadership for the psychological professions at local, system, regional and national level.

The full NHS People Plan is due to be published after the government spending review later this year.

Meet increasing demand

Martin Bell, BACP’s head of policy and stakeholder relations, said:

“This interim report is a positive first step, but there’s a more work to do to ensure it delivers a workforce that can meet the increasing demand for access to psychological therapies on the NHS.

"We’re pleased there’s a focus on the psychological therapy workforce – in addition to the increase in mental health nurses promised in the main report – with a commitment to looking at a range of important issues that are key to ensuring a successful expansion of the psychological workforce.

“We’re already part of the conversations and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the NHS and other stakeholders to deliver this programme, ensuring our members interests are represented and have the best opportunity to be an important part of this future psychological workforce.

“We know there is a highly skilled and professional counselling and psychotherapy workforce which has the capacity to take on more work. We’ll be pushing for an increase in paid employment opportunities for counsellors and psychotherapists, with funded training opportunities to support a workforce expansion programme that provides the best possible outcomes for patients.

Read the interim NHS People Plan and additional documents