We’re delighted a new project is looking to create both opportunities for therapists and to remove barriers to therapists’ progression within the NHS.

Over the past 18 months Health Education England (HEE) has been working on opening up access routes for psychological professionals to become advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs).

ACPs are educated to master’s level or equivalent and may take on greater roles within the NHS to help best meet patients’ needs and transform the delivery of care.

While they exist in other professions, such as psychology, nursing, physiotherapy or paramedics, there hasn’t been a route into this role for people in non-statutorily regulation professions.

HEE, through the National Workforce Skills Development Group, which we’re a part of, has been exploring how to change that so that it can be extended to include the psychological professions, which aren’t statutorily regulated but do meet the criteria for advanced clinical practice and are on a professional register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

This includes counsellors, psychotherapists and CBT therapists.

HEE is working alongside the Psychological Professions Network North West to run a feasibility study to explore the validity of extending this access route for these professions.

And it’s now looking for counsellors and psychotherapists to participate in the study.

Matt Smith-Lilley, our Policy and Engagement Lead (Mental Health), said: “It’s fantastic to see Health Education England proactively exploring how barriers currently preventing counsellors and psychotherapists from accessing opportunities, such as Advanced Clinical Practice roles, can be removed.

“It’s another example of the positive change we’re seeing in organisations in and around the NHS as they’re increasing opportunities for therapists to be employed and progress within their workforce.

“This is a really great chance for counsellors and psychotherapists who meet the criteria set out by the scheme to put themselves forward, both to develop their own skills and prospects for progression within the NHS, but also to make a really valuable contribution to this study which could open up these routes for many more counsellors and psychotherapists moving forward.”

For more information and how to apply visit the Northwest Psychological Professions Network website.

The deadline for applications is Friday 28th May.