11 February 2021
We've called for psychology to be placed at the centre of the nation’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the planned NHS reforms announced today.
Psychologists are uniquely placed to support the pandemic recovery, and it is important to have the right professionals in the right areas of the NHS to support patients, staff and organisations to recover and thrive. This relies on an appropriately funded and resourced workforce, which is currently not contained within the planned reforms.
Dr Hazel McLaughlin, president of the BPS, said: "The psychological workforce will have an integral role to play in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic especially in relation to mental health and wellbeing. Psychologists can support in the NHS to ensure that it is best placed to support patients, communities, staff and organisations as they rebuild.
“We encourage reforms that draw on the lessons learnt from the pandemic, to ensure that services work best when they are integrated and when resources and expertise is shared. This will be a start point to tackle the health inequalities which the pandemic which has exposed and widened.
“We will work closely with our members to continue to champion the role of psychology and the members of the psychological workforce to enable a mental health provision which works for all.”
The BPS welcomes the integration of provision from NHS England and local authorities in order to provide the best quality care for communities, and we are encouraged that with the further integration of health and social care services we can see more psychologists across the board, for example in primary care, making psychological services work for those in need.
It is encouraging to read the focus on obesity and addressing health inequalities that have been highlighted and widened by the pandemic. We have previously called for the government to appreciate all the causes of obesity - biological, psychological and social – and to use approaches to behaviour change for prevention and weight management that are informed by psychology, and this is a welcome step in the right direction.