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Mental health training must be a priority

I write regarding your story on graduate mental health workers ('Crisis in mental health staffing', pulsetoday.

The other major concern of Primary Care Mental Health and Education is that with every new - and in this case, extremely welcome - workforce, there comes the opportunity to forget the vital training and development needs of existing workforces.

This brings the added risk of further deskilling of frontline professionals, who simply learn how to refer more, without acquiring the competencies that will help them address the psychological issues in most, if not all, consultations.

The Government's psychological therapy programme does offer the opportunity for leaders and trainers to be 'born', for greater sharing of positive practice in the NHS and across sectors, and for GPs - among others - in training or at registrar level to shadow those delivering the programme and acquire the skills for excellent systemic whole-person practice.

But the removal of SHA ring-fenced funding for the education and training of doctors and nurses is a matter of great concern and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

From Dr Chris Manning, chief executive, Primhe

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