Doubts over future input of social work

Fears that the distinct role of social work will be reduced in
mental health have been reiterated after confirmation that the
approved social worker post will be scrapped.

Under the revised draft mental health bill, published last week,
ASWs will be replaced by approved mental health practitioners
(news, page 6, 9 September).

It is expected that many former ASWs will take on the role, but
it will also be open to health professionals including mental
health nurses and occupational therapists.

Chair of the Approved Social Worker Interest Group Robert McLean
described the move as a “backward step”. He said: “ASWs undertake
60-day competency training. The fear is that a few modules will be
added on to nursing training so that they can do this new

The Mental Health Act Commission, which the bill will abolish,
has also argued that there needs to be more debate about how the
Healthcare Commission will maintain a patient-focused approach.

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