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Gov partners with UK uni to help tackle mental health staff deficiency

Gov partners with UK uni to help tackle mental health staff deficiency

Thursday 04 April 2024

Gov partners with UK uni to help tackle mental health staff deficiency

Thursday 04 April 2024

The government has entered into an agreement with a UK university to allow islanders to complete a psychology doctorate to tackle the lack of local mental health professionals – but funding for the scheme is still being finalised.

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology will be delivered in partnership with the University of Southampton, with hopes that the first Jersey cohort will start the course in autumn 2025.

Darren Bowring, Associate Director of Children's Mental Health, explained that recruitment of Clinical Psychologists had "proved a challenge over the last two years".

He said that, while psychologist vacancies had successfully been filled, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) remained "conscious of the issue".


Pictured: Darren Bowring is the Associate Director Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Children, Young People, Education and Skills department.

Mr Bowring explained: "We were also struck in 2022 when advertising for Assistant Psychologists that we had over 40 local applicants – indicating the number of local psychology graduates, but emphasising how few had gone back to the UK and been able to access/afford clinical psychology doctorate level training."

He added that, as a result, CAMHS asked Skills Jersey to investigate what could be done to develop an on-island clinical psychology training option for local people.

This was completed in August 2022 and an options paper presented.

Mr Bowring said: "Since then, lead psychologists from CAMHS and Adult Mental Health have followed this up and we now have agreement from the University of Southampton for a number of places on their clinical psychology doctorate course from Autumn 2025, with the option for work based training to take place in Jersey."

He added: "We are still finalising how this will be funded and how the scheme will be offered/managed, but it is a positive development.”

It comes after the recently-published CAMHS annual report 2023 revealed the staggering increase in demand for the service – with referrals doubling in just three years.


Pictured: The number of young people open to CAMHS at the end of each year from 2018 to 2023.

There were 1,351 CAMHS referrals in 2023, double the number three years earlier in 2020.

However, waiting times for non-urgent referrals continue to be within its 36-day target.

In the report’s introduction, Mr Bowring accepted that the significant increase in requests for neuro-developmental assessments – 489 referrals for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder compared to 51 in 2020, and 310 autism assessment referrals compared to 80 in 2020 – created particular pressures.

The annual report also revealed that a plan to extend duty and assessment hours to 08:00-20:00 seven days a week had been delayed due to a change in Service Manager to lead the staff consultation phase.

This extension is now expected to be introduced in 2024.


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