• HEE is reviewing funding arrangements for child psychotherapy and clinical psychology trainees
  • Senior clinician has warned potential cuts would spell end of child psychotherapy 

Health Education England’s review of funding arrangements places two mental health professions at risk, clinicians have warned.

HEE is reviewing the levels of salary support for child psychotherapy and clinical psychology training. In a statement to HSJ, the organisation said it does not have plans to stop the funding altogether, but it is not known what proportion is at risk.

A senior clinician warned: “The funding of their training is significantly under threat.

”HEE [is] continuing to say [it is] reviewing salary support and that [it] may be significantly cut. If they are [significantly cut] child psychotherapy will be dead, it will end. Clinical psychology I suggest will be very badly affected.”

There are around 607 qualified child psychotherapists in England, the majority of which work within children and adolescent mental health service teams. According to figures from the British Psychological Society, there are around 7,000 clinical psychologists working in England, the majority of which are employed by NHS mental health services.

Trainees across both professions will generally be employed on a band 6 salary. For child psychotherapists, around £6m per year is spent on training. 

Nick Waggett, chief executive of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, told HSJ: “The ACP is aware that HEE has been conducting a review of salary support arrangements for the NHS training of child and adolescent psychotherapists and other professions.

“We hope that funding will be protected, and the contribution of the specialist child and adolescent mental health workforce is recognised. We continue to work with other professions to build the case that specialist CAMHS needs to be strengthened alongside the welcome development of mental health teams in schools and other initiatives in the long-term plan.”

Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the British Psychological Society, said: “Funding of trainee clinical psychologists is complex and it’s vital that we don’t make any changes to the current system that could negatively affect the future flow of psychologists into the NHS. In particular, we need to make sure that any proposals are consistent with the vision for the NHS workforce set out in the long-term plan.

“The British Psychological Society has been working closely with HEE on this issue and we have been assured that no changes will be made to the current system without continuing dialogue and consultation.”

In a statement to HSJ, sent after publication, Hazel Smith, national programme lead for the Education Funding programme at HEE said:

”Following initial engagement with stakeholders including ACP and BPS, but also with Pharmacy and Health Science colleagues, as part of HEE’s Education Reform Programme we are working to ensure the funding of these professions currently supported by different Salary Support mechanisms can be prioritised and properly supported in the future.

”Engagement to date suggests that to ensure future supply Salary Support may not in all cases be the most effective approach but we are working with professions to agree what is the best way. This is not about making savings, we are keen to make sure that effective funding mechanisms are in place to secure the future workforce and want to hear the views of our key partners.

”This engagement will continue, no final decision has been made so it is too early to speculate on final outcomes.”