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Mental Health Services Compromised by Workforce Capacity and Retention Issues

Almost three-quarters of psychological professionals questioned in a national survey say they do not believe the service in which they work has enough staff to operate safely and effectively.

That is one of the findings from the 2017 New Savoy Conference Workplace Wellbeing Survey, which is published today, Wednesday 21 March 2018.

The survey was completed by 1678 mental health professionals, most of whom work in the National Health Service, and conducted in conjunction with the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology.

One in three respondents say that their service had lost senior staff and that this had contributed to a loss of confidence.

Fewer professionals than in previous years report feelings of depression or failure, but those feelings remain present in over 40 per cent of respondents.

Experiences of bullying and harassment and staff feeling under pressure to meet unrealistic targets are on the increase.

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, said:
“It is important for people using them that mental health services are properly funded and fully staffed, and that those staff have the right skills and experience. And high morale.
“We are grateful to the New Savoy Conference for keeping these important issues in the public eye.”

Jeremy Clarke CBE, Founding Chair of the New Savoy Partnership, said:
“Two years ago, the Health Minister, Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP, said in all sincerity ‘I take the findings of this survey very seriously because they show something is going badly wrong. I can’t be standing on platforms day in, day out, talking about a world- leading service if I’m standing on something that’s rusting away beneath me...’. This year’s survey shows up the corrosive element: unsafe staffing levels and unrealistic targets.
“The Department of Health and Social Care needs to take urgent action to ensure NHS England re-sets a safer, more sustainable balance.”

Commenting on the findings from the 4th annual NSP/BPS Workforce Wellbeing Survey, Dave Munday, Lead professional officer for mental health at Unite the union stated: 
“Whilst we are concerned to hear of the results from this year's NSP/BPS workforce wellbeing survey, we are not surprised, as this backs-up what our applied psychology members have been telling us. In a survey carried out by Unite last year, member responses included 67% reporting that they had either ‘fairly seriously’ or ‘very seriously’ considered leaving their job, 83% reporting increased workloads and 87% reporting worse morale. 
Unite remains committed to protecting its members from unhealthy working environments, and believes that staff wellbeing is key to providing high quality mental health services to the public. Following from yesterday's #PsychologistsMatter lobby of Parliament, Unite welcomes strengthening relationships with all key stakeholders to support applied psychologists in their work”.

For further details contact Dr Amra Rao at the New Savoy Conference via 

Further news and presentations from the Conference

21 March 2018


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