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Resources developed by the National Workforce Skills Development Unit

Perinatal mental health competency framework

The unit was commissioned to develop a national competency framework for the perinatal workforce and to survey existing and planned perinatal mental health training across England, against the competencies in the perinatal competency. A Perinatal Competency Framework is available on: e-Learning for Health:

Enhancing the management of psychological distress and promoting systemic resilience

The project considered approaches to psychological stress, with a focus on chronic stress. A framework was developed focusing on organisational rather than individual resilience. The interactive pdf of the framework can be found on the HEE website:

Children and young people with learning disability and complex mental health conditions transforming care workforce

This project started in 2016/2017 in direct response to a number of the Lenehan “These are our children” review recommendations. The aim was to develop a strategic workforce planning framework to support workforce development in the 49 Transforming Care Partnerships.

Developing a NHS framework for harmful sexual behaviours in children and young people

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children had already developed a Harmful Sexual Behaviour Framework, the project developed this framework to be more inclusive of health staff and to develop a set of practical resources to support health staff dealing with HSB issues. The resources can be found here:

Good practice in developing new workforce roles

The project developed a practical guide to developing new roles which draws from the evidence and is aimed at service and workforce planners. The toolkit can be found on HEE website: The PDF version can be downloaded here:

Using reflective practice with frequent attenders: development of an e-learning module

The project created an e-learning product for front line services and A&E staff that shows how reflective practice can be used when working with frequent service attenders, allowing staff to better understand their needs. Product is available on: the e-Learning for Health:

Improving system leadership in children and young people’s Learning Disability services

Working with services that provide support to children and young people with learning difficulties and/or autism, the project established two ‘Group Relations’ events for two geographical systems to enhance system leadership capacity.

Supporting the promotion of mental health careers and understanding psychology graduate career pathways

The project aimed to support the promotion of mental health careers within the NHS. The Unit engaged with experts across different mental health job roles and analysed the data on the workforce (numbers employed, vacancies, diversity etc). We produced a written report which synthesised our findings andmapped out non-medical mental health career pathways.

Attitudes towards mental health careers in the NHS

This project was built on the psychology graduates work by the Unit and explored broader attitudes to non-medical mental health careers in the NHS. We produced a written report combining findings of the Mental Health Careers project with evidence around mental health nursing to:

•Explore attitudes towards mental health careers in the NHS to influence a promotional campaign                              

• Use the findings to make recommendations to enhance targeted promotional campaigns for mental health roles.

Skills and training commissioning in primary care mental health

This work brought together a few existing frameworks developed for primary care mental health over the past ten years. The project focused on the construct of a GP surgery rather than associated primary care mental health services. The Unit delivered a matrix which represents the most up-to-date thinking in the area and is intended for use as a tool to help Primary Care organisations commission training against.

Optimising the development to increase the number of the multi-disciplinary approved clinician extended roles across England

This project was commissioned in recognition of the low uptake of multi-professional approved clinician roles since they were introduced in 2007. The Unit produced an implementation guide aimed primarily at Trusts keen to capitalise on the expertise and different perspectives of staff groups other than psychiatry – Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists – when sectioning patients under the Mental Health Act.

Maximising efficiency in psychological professions’ training routes

The project made recommendations to HEE as to whether efficiencies in training pathways can be achieved. It highlighted current issues in training pathways, particularly regarding the new roles of Education Mental Health Practitioners and Wellbeing Practitioners for Children and Young People who at this stage may have limited career progression and made recommendations on next steps.

Enhancing the skills of registered nurses in children and young people’s mental health

The Unit surveyed nurses, services and training providers to gather evidence around this skills gap. This evidence was brought to an expert advisory group made up of experts from across the NHS and academia. The Unit has facilitated this group to explore options for addressing this skills gap and the final report with recommendations was delivered to HEE in March 2020.

Review of Mental Health e-learning

This project, commissioned by the Technology Enhanced Learning department at Health Education England, is reviewing existing Mental Health e-learning content available through the e-Learning for Healthcare portal.

Integrated IAPT services: Emotional impact of long-term conditions training

The project developed and is delivering a training on the emotional impact of long-term conditions and on how to direct patients with long term conditions to the appropriate psychological services, particularly IAPT. The resources can be found here:

Advanced Clinical Practitioner National Census – Information Collection for London (Mental Health)

This project was a component of a larger evaluation commissioned by Health Education England to explore issues regarding advanced clinical practice roles in NHS Trusts in London. 

Band 6 aspiring manager leader role for mental health – bespoke programme of training

This project developed a bespoke leadership programme for aspiring leaders in mental health at band 6, with intention to promote development opportunities for mental health practitioners and improve retention amongst this key group.

Framework for graduate mental health nurse preceptorship

This project was commissioned by the STP North Central London. We developed a framework for the professional development of the graduate mental health nurse in the period following preceptorship, which is linked to the London CapitalNurse Career Framework.

Retention of experienced nurses

This project was commissioned by the STP North Central London. We provided a set of recommendations for revised employment HR processes and priorities around retire and return and flexible working.

For further details of these projects, please visit our website: