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Does mental health nursing have a place in primary care?

  • Comments (4)

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Key points

  1. The remit of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is to provide timely and time-limited therapy
  2. New roles in the IAPT framework mean nurses can access new training
  3. Becoming part of the IAPT structure could give mental health nurses the opportunity to have their skills formally recognised
  4. It is up to individual mental health nurses to decide whether they can work within an IAPT model
  5. Nursing must fight to survive and establish its place within a changing healthcare environment

Let’s discuss

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) aims to reduce the state’s welfare bill by increasing the number of people returning to work after suffering common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The initiative has raised some fundamental questions for mental health nurses:

  • With 10,000 new paraprofessionals working their way through waiting lists, is there still room for mental health nurses in primary care, or have they been sidelined?
  • Is mental health nursing still a separate profession, with specialist skills and knowledge but with few clearly defined nursing roles left?
  • Should mental health nurses develop into “psychological wellbeing practitioners”, “gateway workers” or “high-intensity therapists”?


  • Comments (4)

Readers' comments (4)

  • Anonymous

    IAPT their wiating listsa are already long and so we get clients referred to us as we have to at least make contact see them within 14 days of referral.

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  • Anonymous

    When Lansley see's that he get a Nurse practitioner to do the same job as a psychologist doing CBT for a lot less money what do you think he will do - its the cheap and cheerful Tory way.

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  • As a past service user who had to put up with extremely long waiting times whilst in a desperate psychological state I would have to say that any steps that can bring assessment and meaningful treatment closer would have to be welcome. That being said I would want all treatment offerings, regardless of the supplier, to be assessed for effectiveness of outcome and non-performing programmes modified or even stopped.

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  • Anonymous

    The University of Southampton’s mental health nursing degree course aims to produce professional people who protect and optimise the quality of life of those with mental health problems.

    As a society, we find it much easier to talk about being physically unwell than about mental health problems. Nevertheless, mental health nurses must be vocal advocates for individuals and their families or carers.

    To find out more key facts about the BN, mental health nursing degree at the University of Southampton please visit

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