Letter to Director of Training for Psychology Services at NHS Education for Scotland – “I wanted to strike while the iron was hot”

Here is a letter I sent by Email this morning to Judy Thomson, Director of Training for Psychology Services at NHS Education for Scotland (NES), copied in to the Professors, academics and administration workers whom I know at the DClinPsy courses, Glasgow and Edinburgh universities:

Strapline: Formal Response Letter – NES “independent review of EBE involvement in DClinPsy training in Scotland” – initial suggestions

“Dear Judy

I am writing to you as the Director of Training for Psychology Services at NES (please correct me if I have your title wrong), in respect of this statement in the formal response letter sent to me yesterday:

“NHS Education for Scotland will commission an independent review of EBE (experts by experience) involvement in DClinPsy training in Scotland. We will be considering the scope, remit and methods over the next couples of months in consultation with partners.”

I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, before the review started, to give you some of my thoughts, both as an experienced, qualified community and project development manager/leader, and as an EBE who has been trying to be meaningfully involved in the DClinPsy programmes at both universities since 2009. I think this gives me the right to comment and to be heard.

Firstly I have to say that the government should be putting money or resource into the EBE programme. I know that there was a £444million underspend by Scottish Government at the end of 2014 report:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/scottish-government-in-record-444m-underspend.115737258

And I know that the HEAT target of reducing waiting times for access to psychological therapies, to within 18 weeks, is struggling to be met in many health board areas. Therefore it makes sense to set aside a decent sum of money to garner the experience of people who use, or have used services, and their carers, in the design and delivery of the clinical psychology training in Scotland.

I would recommend creating specific development/co-ordinator posts to assist with the task, maybe split FT posts, half of the hours going to a user/carer/EBE consultant, the other to a seconded DClinPsy staff member or CP from a health board area who lectures on the course. Pay them both the same rates per hour which will mean a decent salary for the user/carer/EBE person. You could ask, work with, the user/carer groups, CUSP and APEX, at both universities to design a job spec and task sheet etc.

I recommend asking the group members to work on this in their own time also so that it doesn’t take a year to hire someone. The key thing, in my experience, is to set timescales and stick to them. Move quickly so as to keep the momentum going. There is no reason why you couldn’t have two people in post within 6 months and with an action plan set up, for the first year. You may describe the EBE post as user/carer or “lived experience” but it might not mean that the person employed still uses services or is a carer but that they have past experience of it. People do recover from mental illness.

To clarify, I don’t want a paid job out of this and I don’t intend to be coming back to either DClinPsy EBE group. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m busy with other stuff these days. However I do want to see EBE meaningfully involved in Scotland’s clinical psychology training and level playing fields for everyone participating. A place at the table for a range of voices. It’s why I first got involved.

I hope this is helpful. I’ll be putting it in a blog post as usual,

Yours sincerely,

Chrys”

 

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