16 August 2023

Associate Psychological Practitioners receiving their certificates

A collaboration led by the Innovation Agency to create a new role in mental health has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.

The Trainee Associate Psychological Practitioners (TAPPs) workforce initiative has already won five awards for its success in designing a new career entry route in the NHS for psychology graduates, increasing the availability of mental health support in the North West.

Now, the scheme has been shortlisted for HSJ Patient Safety Awards on 18 September in the category ‘Improving health outcomes for minority ethnic communities’; and for the main HSJ Awards on 16 November in the category ‘Workforce initiative of the year’.

Working across primary care and secondary care, TAPPs provide 'low-level' psychological support and intervention. The initiative is helping to plug the gap in shortages of mental health practitioners, while providing a much-needed graduate pathway for psychology professionals.

Since the programme was introduced in 2021, 203 graduates have undergone training while working in either a community or hospital setting.

Dr Brendan J Dunlop, Principal Clinical Psychologist at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that the team has been shortlisted for these HSJ awards. The initiative has made a real difference to the way primary and secondary care services work and it’s great for our colleagues to be recognised for their hard work and dedication.”

The training has been funded by Health Education England, now part of NHS England; and the project has been hosted by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, with the University of Central Lancashire delivering training towards a new Postgraduate Diploma Associate Practitioner Psychologist (PGDip APP). The Innovation Agency led the collaboration in devising the new role.

Previous awards:

  • North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards - Ruth Young Award (2022)
  • North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards - Innovation in Workforce Development Award (2023)
  • HSJ Patient Safety Awards - Primary care initiative of the year (2022)
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust Awards - Outstanding contribution to education and research (2021)
  • Educate North - Employer Engagement (2023)

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