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Spotlight on new mental health assistant practitioners

​Assistant practitioners from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NFST) took part in a Development Day on October 4, which was arranged to recognise the important role they play in delivering quality mental health care in the two counties.

Held at the Cornwallis Hotel, in Brome, the conference gave assistant practitioners the opportunity to network with their colleagues, take part in workshops and see presentations from staff that had been on recent training programmes.

Staff giving presentations who have recently graduated are Katrina Alcock, James Butcher, Vern Rackham, Sam Harbrow, Pippa Everett, Natalie Osborne and Shirley Wright. An award was also given to Teresa Dodwell who was unable to attend the conference. The award was received on her behalf by support workforce training coordinator Kim Boggan.

Practitioners also heard talks about the implementation and development of the assistant practitioner role from guest speakers Diane Last, from West Suffolk Hospital, and Josie Herries, from Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust.

Introducing the conference, NFST Chief Executive Aidan Thomas praised the work of assistant practitioners.

"Unregistered carers in our service are some of the most important people in delivering quality,” he said. “We know they tend to be the most valued element of our care when services users are asked.

“For this reason, I am really pleased that we have a number of people becoming professional assistant practitioners and I know the potential they bring with these qualifications stands the service in good stead.

“In our Trust - and elsewhere - they are carrying out roles such as care co-ordination, cognitive behavioural therapy and taking over lead responsibilities for key aspects of our care quality. This can only be good for patients and the Trust.”


Notes for editors:

Assistant practitioners work at level 4 of the NHS career framework developed by Skills for Health. The role is new to this Trust and will be developed and enhanced according to service needs. This may include activities involving enhanced therapies, physical health, mentorship, audit and medication management.