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Workforce scheme lands top award

The Innovation Agency and its partners have won an award at the prestigious HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

The winning project aims to tackle a shortage of psychological professionals in the NHS and provide a new career gateway for psychology graduates.

The first 50 trainee associate psychological practitioners – TAPPs – graduated earlier this year and a second cohort is studying at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and will eventually take up roles across the North West.

The submission was called Delivering a mental health prevention and promotion service within primary care networks with a new workforce supply of psychological practitioners and it won the Primary Care Initiative of the Year award at a ceremony in Manchester.

The awards entry was submitted by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of a collaboration of the Innovation Agency, North West primary care networks, the three North West Integrated Care Systems, Health Education England North West and UCLan.

Dr Gita E Bhutani, National Development Lead Psychological Professions Network and Director for Psychological Professions at the trust, said: “We’re delighted to have won the award.

“It is real recognition for the new role we’ve developed across the North West and the difference our Associate Psychological Practitioners make in primary care to people seeking help for mild mental health difficulties, as well as increasing capacity within primary care and general practice.

“This project would not have been possible without the input and support of the trust and partner organisations including Health Education England in the North West, Health Education England, the Innovation Agency, University of Central Lancashire and the North West Psychological Professions Network.”

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