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Health Psychology

Employing and Training Health Psychologists

Health psychologists are specialists in health behaviour change, adding value to existing programmes to improve health,  understanding the complexities of barriers to change and improving the design and effectiveness of  interventions to change health behaviour for individuals, social groups and communities.  Health psychologists work in the Psychology Directorate at NES and contribute to several projects to enhance physical health and psychological well-being, for example:

Promoting a ‘Human Factors’ approach to patient safety.

Projects focus on changing behaviour and developing skills, including: BASICS – resuscitation training for remote and rural practitioners; Improving care for patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms; Improving hand hygiene in trainee doctors; Infection prevention in renal care; and contributing to the Mental Health Patient Safety Programme.

Assessing Impact: Outputs from Health Psychology involvement in Human Factors Patient Safety projects

Outputs include journal publications, reports, international and national conference presentations, workshops, training packages, videos, newsletters and other dissemination events

NES Health Psychology Case Study Booklet

NES Health Psychology Leaflet

Supply of high quality trainees: NES Training Programme.

NES recognises the importance of adding Health Psychology to the NHS skill mix in Scotland by supporting training posts. Since 2007 NES has jointly funded (with NHS Health Boards) 2 year training posts for health psychologists in NHS Health Boards in Scotland. This has helped Boards to meet HEAT Targets and Local delivery Plans. 

Specific topics include: Promoting breastfeeding; oral health in children;  sexual health; health coaching in primary care; drug and alcohol services; bowel cancer screening; type 2 diabetes;  upskilling  community pharmacists; long-term conditions and anticipatory care.

NHS benefits from the NES Stage 2 Programme:

  • Developing links and sharing best practice between NHS Health Boards
  • Linking health psychologists with expertise from Scottish Universities with the NHS via  supervision and collaboration 
  • Joint supervision of specific projects, developing shared supportive networks for trainees and other stakeholders      
  • Developing behaviour change science and research evidence to apply in practice
  • Continuity in posts (e.g. NHS Grampian, NHS Fife; NHS Tayside) facilitates sustainable development of input to programmes, for example ‘Keep Well’.

For more info on the NES Stage 2 Programme click here

Other benefits:

  • NES supported jointly funded project with NHS Lanarkshire and North Lanarkshire Council around:  ‘Reshaping Care for Older People’, to develop psychological capacity among the health and social care workforce, particularly the Community Assessment and Rehabilitation Service and Home Support (Reablement) Service.