New settings lure experienced staff

Recruitment problems in mental health are being exacerbated in
social services departments and acute hospitals by the departure of
many highly qualified mental health workers to less traditional

The best workers were taking jobs in crisis resolution teams and
outreach services, which meant their expertise was being lost from
elsewhere, said service users at a conference last week on the
mental health workforce. The development of such services is a
target in the National Service Framework for Mental Health.

Ian Baugley, at Trent NHS Workforce Development Federation, said
the “leeching” of staff from hospitals and social service
departments was a problem and thousands more workers were needed

The NSF conservatively estimates that an extra 10,000 staff are
needed within mental health.

Malcolm Philip, workforce development lead at the Sainsbury Centre
for Mental Health, said efforts should be made to try and get back
the large numbers of people taking the opportunity to retire at 55,
as well as to attract new workers.

Philip said there was also “a big issue” about the capability of
staff of the future and the need for additional training, adding
that little attention was being given to the needs of mental health
services in four or five years’ time.

But delegate Hanna Gottschling, a training co-ordinator at Hounslow
Adult Mental Health Service, said it was “very difficult” to plan
long-term for mental health workers when it was not yet known what
types of workers would be required within the long-delayed Mental
Health Bill.

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