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HEE launches mental health career development framework

mental health


HEE has launched a framework across England to support careers in mental health with a focus on nursing.

The Mental Health Nursing Competence and Career Framework, published yesterday by HEE and developed by Skills for Health, guides employers on how to encourage more people to work in mental health and provides a career pathway for the profession.

It sets out the skills required for a variety of nursing roles that are needed to deliver care to users of mental health services. It also aims to help employers recruit, retain and develop the mental health nursing workforce across England.

HEE chief nurse Professor Mark Radford acknowledged that it can be ‘difficult’ for people entering or considering nursing to ‘get clear information on what additional competencies’ are needed for career progression, in his foreword for the framework.

He continued: ‘This difficulty can be compounded by variation across the country in mental health nursing postgraduate education and training, coupled with inconsistent access to a formal dedicated career pathway.’

Commenting after its publication, Professor Radford added that the resource ‘forms part of HEE’s programme of work to introduce new roles into mental health and expand the skills of the current workforce’.

He continued: ‘It is so important that we have a well-supported mental health workforce and in turn ensure those with mental health difficulties are treated with dignity, respect and receive the care and support they need.’

Head of NHS mental health nursing Emma Wadley said: ‘This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from mental health nurses and for the first time, sets a clear pathway from beginner to expert nurse and clinical leader.

 ‘It highlights the breadth and depth of skill and knowledge required from mental health nurses so that they provide the best patient care, while influencing and leading across the NHS.’

Skills for Health developed the framework with the Mental Health Nursing Directors Forum, mental health nurses from across the country and other key stakeholders.

Latest NHS England figures show that 37,821 nursing vacancies in mental health, as of June 2020.