Unite’s lobby of Parliament took place on Tuesday 20th March, with the aim of flagging national issues and calling for the Government to:
- Deliver their promises to increase mental health funding, and reverse the continued cuts to mental health as half of CCGs cut funding to mental health trusts.
- Secure adequate ring-fenced funding for Psychology Services across the Country.
- Protect highly skilled and professional psychological roles in the NHS and recognise their fundamental contribution to healthcare in the UK.
- Stop the downbanding, downgrading and deskilling of psychologists all across the NHS and end the cutting of psychology posts.
- HMRC to issue the due tax refund and rebates for Psychologists and other professionals that underwent training the widening access training scheme (WATS).
The current climate is making life harder for many people, pulling away their safety net and pushing them into crisis. The rates of mental health problems are escalating, especially in children and young people. We know that early help is important and can prevent a cycle of chronic mental health problems, which can also affect the next generation.
Specialist psychologists and psychotherapists have the skills to help, but these vital posts are being cut to meet savings targets. Time needs to be called on the erosion of higher skilled posts, the introduction of targets which can set up perverse incentives and evidence of a bullying culture against staff in these services.
Patients need to be able to fairly access therapy that they need, regardless of who they are, and to be confident that they will get the therapy that they need in a timely way, from a professional who has the skills needed to help them.
We were delighted to be joined by excellent speakers who came to support this cause:
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Paula Sherriff MP, Shadow Mental Health Minister
Barbara Keeley MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care
Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, National Officer, Unite the Union
Dr Nick Waggett, Chief Executive, Association of Child Psychotherapists
Lisa Cameron MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Psychology
Dr Natalie Kemp, Clinical Psychologist, Founder, www.in2gr8mentalhealth.com
Dr Richard Pemberton, Former Chair, Division of Clinical Psychology for the British Psychological Society
Dr Mike Wang, Chair, Association of Clinical Psychologists, UK
Dr Amra Rao, Chair, Leadership and Management, DCP Exec Team
Antony Vassalos, Chair, Unite Applied Psychology Organising Professional Committee
Thank you to all those who came and stood with us.
You can see the speeches on the Unite in Health Facebook Page
Even if you could not be there on the day, you can still help -
1. It is not too late to write to your MP to draw their attention to this campaign. You can use the attached documents to write your own letter
2. Join the campaign. Clinical psychology has 3rd worst vacancy rate after Mental Health and Learning Disability nursing. We need to address this. Plans are being drawn up at present by Health Education England regarding workforce plans for the NHS and we need to ensure that there is investment in specialist psychological services which serve the most vulnerable in society.
Unite is working for you, and if we act together, we are stronger.