Letters to the Editors: Agenda for Change and Psychotherapy

Nield, C., 2003. Letters to the Editors: Agenda for Change and Psychotherapy. Reformulation, Autumn, p.3.


Letters to the Editors

Agenda for Change and Psychotherapy.

Have you thought about Agenda for Change in relation to the profession of Psychotherapy? For some I might be introducing this for the first time.

I am writing this to put Agenda for Change firmly on the agenda for CAT and psychotherapy more generally; to raise awareness, stimulate thinking, and ask for feedback on my current ‘dilemma’.

What is Agenda for Change?

  • A new pay scale for the NHS, affecting all those employed by the NHS except doctors and dentists.
  • It sets out to harmonise conditions of service for NHS staff
  • It is proposed that the system will be implemented across the NHS from October 2004
  • Basic pay will be decided through ‘Job evaluation’.
  • Posts will be evaluated against national ‘job profiles’ and every post will be given a pay banding
  • The pay band for each post will be determined after assessment (your post will be placed in the correct pay band as a result of ‘job evaluation’ – some posts in the NHS have already been evaluated. As far as I understand, there is no national profile for psychotherapy).

 

What is My Current ‘Dilemma’?
Working in Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Trust as a CAT psychotherapist is currently posing a dilemma.

This NHS Trust is one of the ‘Early Implementers’ (12 Trusts in England will test the new pay system before it is extended to other Trusts nationally). It so happens that in the first instance, AfC is to be applied within my department, the Diabetic and Endocrine Day Centre…which means that my post is the first psychotherapy post within the Trust (and is amongst the few currently nationally within other ‘Early Implementer’ Trusts), to be evaluated and banded according to the new pay structure.

There is no ‘matching’ national profile, so I have the imminent prospect of being individually evaluated by means of questionnaire and interview.

With psychotherapists currently being employed on such disparate terms and conditions and pay scales, this personally feels a huge individual responsibility, potentially setting the precedent for all other psychotherapists in the NHS.

I currently work part time and a significant proportion of that time is at the moment being spent trying to think about this issue and liase with other organisations for support and communication, (for example the UKCP, the Association for Adult Psychotherapists, the union Amicus, and the Tavistock). I have heard ‘on the grapevine’ that Family Therapists are refusing to be evaluated on an individual basis and are suggesting an organisational approach. My dilemma is how to approach this as an individual, and contextualise implications for the wider profession of psychotherapy. Should I accept individual evaluation, or advocate an organisational approach – do I have a choice, how would I go about this?
(I am hoping that AfC will benefit me, as I was surprised when my first psychotherapy post rewarded me with a salary less than my previous nursing post!)

Agenda for Change could potentially affect you – if you are employed by the NHS now or become employed by the NHS in the future.

I hope this has brought AfC to your attention and would appreciate any comments or advice to be communicated.

Cal Nield

Medical Psychotherapist
Diabetic and Endocrine Day Centre,
Guys and St. Thomas’ Trust.

Sources:
Agenda for Change produced by UNISON Communications Dept., CD/April03/13445/www.unison.org.doc Visit The Unison website
The New NHS Pay System. An Overview. DoH Publications email Request Agenda for Change 307551p 1142k Feb 03 (AHP)
For further information: Agenda For Change

Full Reference

Nield, C., 2003. Letters to the Editors: Agenda for Change and Psychotherapy. Reformulation, Autumn, p.3.

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