• WE NEED HEE to recognise that it should work with and fund third sector providers as well as NHS providers to establish and maintain training posts .
• WE NEED commissioning to acknowledge and protect training posts .
• WE NEED greater recognition from the royal college that posts within the third sector are entirely comparable with those from the NHS .
I am honoured to have been appointed the new vice chair of the RCPsych Addictions Executive ,
serving with Dr Emily Finch as chair . One of our priorities is to focus on training and getting it up to speed . The new psychiatry curriculum provides a step forward , ensuring all trainees have at least some exposure to addiction work , but it ’ s not enough .
The third sector is the leading provider of addiction services and has been for over a decade now . HEE and the NHS must utilise the expertise in Turning Point and organisations like it if we ’ re to have a psychiatry workforce fit for the future .
Dr David Bremner is group medical director at Turning Point .
Over the last decade , psychiatry training as a whole has been under huge pressure but we have seen a particular reduction in training places for addiction psychiatrists .
Despite a very strong response from students , GP trainees and scholars wanting to gain addiction experience a void remains . This is largely because of :
• Ever-reducing margins , meaning commissioners aren ’ t protecting training places
• The relatively short tenure of service contracts not aligning with the length of time it takes to set up meaningful training
• The ongoing reluctance of the training schemes and Health Education England ( HEE ) to reflect the realities of well-established third sector delivery and support for training .
class services , we need a world class workforce at every level , including our peer mentors , paid lived-experience roles , recovery workers , managers and clinicians .
I am immensely proud of our workforce – they are passionate , hardworking and make a huge difference to people ’ s lives . The chance to now invest more in them , to develop new roles and to grow our teams is something we ’ ve wanted to do for a long time .
When the sector suddenly had an injection of £ 80m to spend before April 2021 , it was a great opportunity to make that investment in our current teams , but difficult to realise that the new and returning workforce we hoped was there , wasn ’ t .
I don ’ t know a single substance misuse organisation that isn ’ t recruiting right now , and we ’ ve all had to think about how we make working in substance misuse the destination again .
Over the last few years , we ’ ve been developing a framework for qualifications and training to ensure our teams continue to be the best they can be .
We are currently piloting a new recovery worker journey from trainee to worker to advanced practitioner roles , for those who are excellent but not interested in management . This will enable specialisation , renewed focus on interventions , aftercare and early intervention , and recognise expertise and skills in a new way .
For our peer mentors we are continuing to invest in a credible route to volunteering and paid employment . We ’ re learning from the mental health sector where opportunities aren ’ t based on their lived experience but build on it . Meanwhile our clinical leads are looking at ways to develop training and new routes in for clinical staff .
With more than £ 500m being invested in the sector over the next three years we have everything to play for . This is our
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
When recruiting we run into many preconceptions . It ' s important that we put these myths behind us :
• The substance misuse sector is respected . It now has the support and investment we deserve and it ’ s allowing us to develop our services and teams in new and exciting ways .
• Your values are more important than experience . At Turning Point , we are values-led , so it ’ s important for those thinking about a job in the sector not to be put off because it ’ s your first job or you ’ re changing career . Much of the job can be learned , so it ’ s your
time to step up and invest in our services and workforce in the right way , for the long-term . approach that is most important to us .
• There are progression routes for those who seek them . There are training and promotion opportunities , whether that ’ s specialising in working with certain client groups , types of service or management and leadership roles .
• It ’ s not all paperwork . At Turning Point , we know most want to work in the sector for the clients . The new strategy supports a rebalancing of reporting needs and face-to face work . With smaller caseloads comes less administrative work .
Nat Travis is national head of service – public health and substance misuse at Turning Point
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