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New psychology role in primary care

By Caroline Kenyon, Innovation Agency Added 20th May, 2021 Updated 28th Jun, 2021

A new psychology trainee role in general practice settings is providing mental health support to individuals and community groups, offering techniques to prevent anxiety and low mood, stress and promote positive emotional wellbeing.

This role provides early stage psychological support to people presenting to primary care with concerns and signs of distress.

Primary Care Networks in Lancashire and South Cumbria have recruited 25 Trainee Associate Psychological Practitioners (TAPPs) with overwhelmingly positive feedback.


Funding from Health Education England to improve workforce productivity was secured by the Innovation Agency, in a joint bid with the People Boards in Cheshire and Merseyside and Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The aim was to reduce the bottleneck of job opportunities faced by psychology graduates trying to join the NHS, to improve workforce supply and expand available psychological support.

A total of 50 fully-funded roles were created in a pilot project hosted by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) delivering a new Postgraduate Diploma Associate Practitioner Psychologist (PGDip APP) course; and leading on evaluation. 25 of the roles are in primary care networks.

The mental health prevention and promotion role offered by TAPPs can focus upon many different issues. They are helping people who suffer mild anxiety, low mood, work related stress and issues with sleep. Also people who are struggling as a result of the impact of Covid and young people who are having difficulties with returning to school or dealing with exam pressures.

The practitioners encourage individuals to bring along an ‘important other’ to at least one appointment, to provide support and encouragement.

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