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Majority of NHS applied psychologists say they are overworked with low morale

Mental health services face a funding crisis, low morale and increased workloads, finds a survey of NHS applied psychologists by Unite. The trade union’s survey released for World Mental Health Day yesterday found that 73 per cent of applied psychologists in the NHS said their morale was either worse or a lot worse over the past 12 months.

More than a third (35 per cent) said they had seriously considered leaving their NHS jobs in the last year, while 81 per cent said their workloads had increased and 77 per cent frequently or always work extra hours, often unpaid.

Nearly all respondents (96 per cent) said they believe government policy on public sector pay is unfair. The poll is based on responses from 337 clinical psychologists.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘Our survey of our NHS applied psychologists is another ‘wake-up’ call that mental health services in the UK are reeling from a perfect storm of budget cuts, low morale and increased – and unsustainable – workloads, which impact adversely on patient care. ‘Jeremy Hunt needs to address the funding crisis to deliver a well-qualified and trained workforce, better leadership and an end of practices that cause stress, fear and, ultimately, lead to highly qualified professionals departing the NHS, at a time when their skills are needed more than ever as mental health waiting lists get longer and longer.’

Antony Vassalos, Chair of Unite’s applied psychologists professional committee, added: ‘What applied psychologists across the UK are saying, loud and clear, is that they are being worn down by changes and major cuts in their services which are definitely not in the interest of patients, leading, as the survey shows, to increased stress at work and poor morale within the profession.’

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