Drive to attract nurses into approved mental health role

A commission on the future of nursing in England is to explore ways to encourage more mental health nurses to train as approved mental health professionals.

The AMHP role, which includes deciding whether to section a patient, was created last year. Unlike the approved social worker role that it replaced, it is open to nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists.

But Ray Walker, one of 20 experts appointed by the government to lead the Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, said the number of mental health nurses training as AMHPs was “really small”.

“We want to look at how to progress initiatives that provide nurses with opportunities to make use of their full set of skills to care for people,” said Walker, who is also director of nursing, governance and performance at five Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust in north west England.

Health minister Ann Keen is chairing the commission, which is due to report in March 2010.

Keen admitted there were significant challenges in delivering personalisation in mental health nursing, but pledged to examine how to remove barriers to innovation in the sector.

The commission’s consultation survey

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