Friday, 6 March 2015

"I was a founding member of both the CUSP and APEX groups": DClinPsy dialogue with NES Director

[updated post with further Email conversations with Judy Thomson, NES Director of Psychology Training, most recent responses first, regarding the DClinPsy involvement of Experts by Experience (EBE) in their training of clinical psychologists at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities]

My second Email letter to Ms Thomson, 23 February 2015, a response, and a reminder of my interest, commitment and experience:

"Judy thanks for your response.

To remind you.  I was until recently a founding member of both the CUSP and APEX groups, for most of that time the only person on both university user/carer groups.

The fact that I have left the groups (or been chased off) I think should not mean my opinions or suggestions are no longer of value or valuable.

I hope you don't mind me being straight with you.  It still rankles that the whole experience was tokenistic and it will take some time for the disappointment and frustration to work through and out of my system.

I also hope that any developments are made public so that we can all see what NES is doing with the scope, remit and methods, the review and what resources you are putting in.  For resource or money is definitely a priority, in my opinion.  Especially when you consider the millions of government underspend and the millions going into organisations like IHI in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and their symbiotic twin HIS, for patient safety programmes that exclude critical voices.

Regards, Chrys"

A response to my initial Email on 20 February 2015, from Judy Thomson,
Director of Training for Psychology Services at NHS Education for Scotland (NES), on 23 February 2015:

"Dear Chrys,

Thanks for this, its helpful to have your suggestions. Our first steps will be to discuss the scope, remit and methods of the review with CUSP and APEX members.



Here is a letter I sent by Email on 20 February 2015 to Judy Thomson, Director of Training for Psychology Services at NHS Education for Scotland (NES), copied in to the Professors, academics and administration workers whom I know at the DClinPsy courses, Glasgow and Edinburgh universities:

Strapline: Formal Response Letter - NES "independent review of EBE involvement in DClinPsy training in Scotland" - initial suggestions

"Dear Judy

I am writing to you as the Director of Training for Psychology Services at NES (please correct me if I have your title wrong), in respect of this statement in the formal response letter sent to me yesterday:

"NHS Education for Scotland will commission an independent review of EBE (experts by experience) involvement in DClinPsy training in Scotland. We will be considering the scope, remit and methods over the next couples of months in consultation with partners."

I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, before the review started, to give you some of my thoughts, both as an experienced, qualified community and project development manager/leader, and as an EBE who has been trying to be meaningfully involved in the DClinPsy programmes at both universities since 2009.  I think this gives me the right to comment and to be heard.

Firstly I have to say that the government should be putting money or resource into the EBE programme.  I know that there was a £444million underspend by Scottish Government at the end of 2014 report:

And I know that the HEAT target of reducing waiting times for access to psychological therapies, to within 18 weeks, is struggling to be met in many health board areas.  Therefore it makes sense to set aside a decent sum of money to garner the experience of people who use, or have used services, and their carers, in the design and delivery of the clinical psychology training in Scotland.  

I would recommend creating specific development/co-ordinator posts to assist with the task, maybe split FT posts, half of the hours going to a user/carer/EBE consultant, the other to a seconded DClinPsy staff member or CP from a health board area who lectures on the course.  Pay them both the same rates per hour which will mean a decent salary for the user/carer/EBE person.  You could ask, work with, the user/carer groups, CUSP and APEX, at both universities to design a job spec and task sheet etc.  

I recommend asking the group members to work on this in their own time also so that it doesn't take a year to hire someone.  The key thing, in my experience, is to set timescales and stick to them.  Move quickly so as to keep the momentum going.  There is no reason why you couldn't have two people in post within 6 months and with an action plan set up, for the first year.  You may describe the EBE post as user/carer or "lived experience" but it might not mean that the person employed still uses services or is a carer but that they have past experience of it.  People do recover from mental illness.

To clarify, I don't want a paid job out of this and I don't intend to be coming back to either DClinPsy EBE group.  I've been there, done that, and I'm busy with other stuff these days.  However I do want to see EBE meaningfully involved in Scotland's clinical psychology training and level playing fields for everyone participating.  A place at the table for a range of voices.  It's why I first got involved.

I hope this is helpful.  I'll be putting it in a blog post as usual,

Yours sincerely,


1 comment:

  1. There is no way I would put myself in the position where I was surrounded by professionals. They are paid to agree with each other. It's your mortgage or the street.

    That puts so much pressure on people, they have no idea whether they are lying or telling the truth. They are swept along on a wave of compliance.

    I tried to volunteer for a local advocacy centre. The advert said were supposed to help patients with everyday problems. The reality was that it was actually dealing with professionals like psychiatrists. There is no way I am going up against a professional in an advocacy role.


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