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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Provision of psychological interventions and therapies guidance

We provide support in relation to the Scottish Government ambition of timely access across Scotland to high quality, evidence based psychological therapies and interventions, delivered by staff who are suitably trained and supported.


The NES/SG (2015) The Matrix: A Guide for Delivering Evidence based Psychological Therapies in Scotland was developed initially in 2011 to support NHS Boards in planning for the range, volume and quality of psychological therapies required to meet Scottish Government commitments. This is currently undergoing a comprehensive review process reflecting the significant shifts in service delivery and the proliferation of both evidence of effectiveness and demand for psychological therapies and interventions. This will be an iterative process but initial publications are planned for Spring 2023.

Key roles of ‘The Matrix’

  • Summarising the most up-to-date advice on evidence-based interventions
  • Providing information and advice on strategic planning issues in the delivery of efficient and effective Psychological Therapies and Intervention services;
  • Explaining the levels of training and supervision necessary for staff to deliver Psychological Therapies safely and effectively; 

Early intervention framework for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

The Early Intervention Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing (the Early Intervention Framework) is a web-based resource that aims to increase the effective implementation of psychologically informed evidence-based prevention and early intervention approaches to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, from the antenatal period until age 18.

The ambition of the Framework is to enable staff across sectors throughout Scotland to make fully informed investment decisions about which early intervention or prevention approaches might be implementable and sustainable for their specific context.

Further information about the Early Intervention Framework can be found on TURAS.

The Early Intervention Framework resource can be accessed at:

Implementation science and practice

The Psychology directorate utilises the principles of Implementation Science and Practice to develop and deliver education, training and resources that support the effective implementation of evidence based psychological therapies and skills.

Application of implementation science frameworks and strategies

  • Drawing upon the work of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), we developed implementation strategies for each workstream to strengthen the bridge between the skills-based training delivered by NES and the successful and sustainable application of these newly acquired competences

The development and utilisation of implementation science guided resources

  • Utilising NIRN’s Hexagon Exploration Tool, we developed the Early Intervention Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, a web-based, searchable database of evidence-based mental health and wellbeing interventions for children and young people
  • The Hexagon Tool is also used to support partners to explore implementation considerations, as well as part of the Quality Assurance processes that are undertaken within the Directorate

Delivery of training in implementation science and practice principles

  • We have developed teaching resources and delivered training to improve the level of understanding of Implementation Science and Practice, and its application to services in Scotland

Quality assurance framework

The Psychology directorate has developed a quality assurance framework (QAF) for reviewing the quality of education and training in psychological therapies and interventions. The Quality Assurance Framework draws on the principles of effective learning and teaching, the accreditation processes within higher education and is based on the NIRN1 ‘Implementation Drivers: Assessing Best Practices’ measure. The Quality Assurance Framework was developed with the aim of improving standards for the quality of education in the delivery of evidence-based psychological interventions and therapies.

The Quality assurance framework provides a range of tools that can be used to assess and improve the overall quality of the training or education programme. The Training Descriptor provides a template to succinctly describe the education or training programme. It should include the

key features of the training, information on what is taught and how it is assessed. Educators can use the Quality assurance framework to reflect on their education or training programme and develop an action plan to improve the overall quality of their programme.

The constructive alignment matrix provides a tool that can be used to ensure that all the key components within a training or education programme - the curriculum and its intended outcomes, the teaching methods used, the assessment tasks - are aligned to each other.

The quality assurance guidance notes provide helpful information for completing the quality assurance framework.


Title Description

CAMHS competency framework

This framework describes the knowledge and skills underpinning the various clinical activities carried out by a CAMHS service. The resource can help clinicians to reflect on their practice, and provide guidance to those involved in supervision, training and clinical governance activities.

NES autism training framework: optimising outcomes

This framework helpfully outlines the knowledge and skills required (at various levels within the health and social care workforce) to achieve key outcomes for autistic individuals and their families.

Perinatal mental health curricular framework

This framework sets out the levels of knowledge and skills required by the Scottish workforce to promote well-being and good mental health during the perinatal period and to intervene when mental ill-health is present.

The framework was a collaboration with partners, stakeholders and those with lived experience of perinatal mental health problems and is intended to support the identification of workforce training needs.

Promoting excellence: a framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers

A guide for the level of staff skill and knowledge required when working with someone living with dementia.

Mental health improvement and suicide prevention framework

Mental health improvement and suicide prevention framework

Supporting psychological wellbeing in adults with learning disabilities

An educational framework on psychological interventions for practitioners working with adults with learning disabilities in Scotland.

Transforming psychological trauma: A skills and knowledge framework for the Scottish workforce

NHS Education for Scotland has been commissioned to deliver this project as part of the Scottish Government Survivor Scotland Strategic Outcomes and Priorities 2015-2017. The overarching goal is to support the strategic planning and delivery of training for those who have contact with survivors of trauma across all parts of the Scottish Workforce.

Roth and Pilling Supervision framework

This framework was commissioned by the Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP), Skills for Health and NHS Education for Scotland. It is one of a suite of competence frameworks which describe the knowledge and skills associated with the effective delivery of a number of psychological therapies.

Children and Young People's Mental Health & Wellbeing: A Knowledge and Skills Framework for the Scottish Workforce

This framework sets out the different levels of knowledge and skills required by members of the Scottish workforce to promote positive wellbeing and good mental health for children and young people. It is part of NES’ wider work to improve the mental health care for children and young people. The framework has been written in collaboration with partners across the Scottish workforce including health, education, social care and third sector organisations, and involved listening to what young people want and need from the adults that support them.

Supervision of psychological therapies and interventions

Clinical Supervision is increasingly being recognised as having a pivotal role in the effective and efficient delivery of Psychological Therapies and Interventions across all disciplines. While many clinicians appreciate the role of supervision as a support within the professional context, supervision also plays a key role in quality assurance, evaluation of competence and educational development.

Find further information on NES Training in Generic Supervision Competences for Psychological Therapies, Supervision in Clinical Psychology, and Specialist Supervision Training (CBT).

CAMHS and psychology services official workforce statistics

NES publishes quarterly reports on all staff working within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and psychology services in NHS Scotland for the census dates 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.

A secure web-based system is used to collect data, which allows each NHS Board to access, add, amend and terminate staff workforce data records directly within national databases. Data are verified by Heads of Service, who work closely with NES to ensure a high level of accuracy.

The information collected and presented is used routinely by NES, the Scottish Government and NHS Boards to support local, regional and national workforce planning, and to support educational training and planning, and to track the Scottish Government’s investment in the expansion of CAMHS and Psychological Therapies workforce and training numbers.

For each CAMHS, and Psychology Workforce publication, data are presented as a full report, summary, data dashboard and background tables. Data are presented as:

  1. The number and characteristics of all clinical staff in post including wte, headcount, wte per 100,000 of the population, Agenda for Change Band, contract length, area of work, target age of patients treated, outpatient/Community workforce, Tier of operation, age and gender.
  2. The number of trainees in Doctorate and MSc Applied Psychology Courses.
  3. Longitudinal graduate retention within NHS Scotland following course completion.

Staff in post data are available as chart visuals or tables, and the dashboards allow users to quickly gauge shifts in trends and draw comparisons across NHS Boards and regions.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is the source for Official Statistics on the NHS Scotland Workforce. NES works to the Code of Practice for Official Statistics which is maintained by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA).

Data is published on Turas Data Intelligence.

Last updated: 26/09/2020

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