ACATnews: Report from the UKCP NHS Committee

Knight, M., 2003. ACATnews: Report from the UKCP NHS Committee. Reformulation, Spring, p.6.


ACATnews

Report from the UKCP NHS Committee

Members may be interested to know that, following on from becoming one of ACAT’s two delegates to the HIPS section of UKCP (Cynthia Pollard being the other), I have taken up the opportunity to become a member of the NHS Committee.

This committee is UKCP-wide, not just the HIPS section. Its aims are to foster psychotherapy within the NHS. It is about both quantity and quality, that is to say advocating there should be more of it generally as well as specific recognition of a wide range of UKCP accredited therapies. The Committee acts in part as a lobby to the NHS Exec on behalf of UKCP member organisations.

There are, as many will know much better than I, many thorny historic issues relating to the position of psychotherapy in the NHS. One of the main is that traditionally there has only ever been professional recognition accorded to doctors. Hence all consultant psychotherapy posts are held by psychiatrists, ie doctors. The only exceptions are clinical psychologists; and child psychotherapists, but only those accredited with the (Tavistock related) Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP). As a consequence whether a local NHS Trust employs therapists with the highest qualifications or with none (or simply does not employ them at all!) they are a non-category in terms of status, pay and professional standards (including re supervision), all at the whim of the local employer.

In seeking NHS recognition of a wide range of UKCP therapies the issue hits a major current dispute within UKCP about its own recognition of the ‘labels’ to be attached to some qualifying trainings, and specifically about child psychotherapists. The ACP are fighting against any such recognition to other trainings in child psychotherapy, fearing no doubt that it would lead in time to their monopoly of such work within the NHS being broken.

The diversity of experience within the NHS of ACAT members must be second to none – and I would welcome understanding it better. In particular we have many accredited in CAT but not UKCP registered psychotherapists, many whose primary professional label is something else. I would be interested to know more, in particular any views about the place of, and recognition of, psychotherapy in the NHS. I am aware that pursuit by UKCP of recognized standards (including training requirements) might be to the detriment of some ACAT accredited members; but they too presumably prefer that GPs should not appoint counsellors/therapists regardless of standards/qualifications?

The NHS Committee is itself in unknown territory in that its first (and very energetic, and CAT sympathetic chair, Tricia Scott) is giving up, successor not yet identified. One of the intentions is to do a survey of NHS practice and experience amongst UKCP members, which might be valuable.

Comments, thoughts, ideas to me please!
Michael Knight
0207 722 9007
mj.knight@ukonline.co.uk.

Full Reference

Knight, M., 2003. ACATnews: Report from the UKCP NHS Committee. Reformulation, Spring, p.6.

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