The Industrial Relations of Mental Health
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This chapter will explore industrial relations in today’s mental health services and current workforce trends, based on the Surviving Work Survey, which I led in 2016–2017. The research was motivated by the current lack of workforce data and industrial relations perspectives in the debates about how to deal with the crisis in mental health services. Despite a majority of mental health workers now practising within a complex and insecure employment relations context – employed in a range of clinical jobs, in multiple settings, on multiple contracts – there is still an assumption in public and policy debates that this workforce is made up of professionally distinct roles that are protected and privileged. As a result of this lack of data and understanding about the systemic trends in the service, the current national workforce strategy, most recently articulated in the Stepping Forward to 2020/21: the mental health workforce plan for England (Health Education England, 2017), is not underpinned by an informed industrial thinking. This feeds into a lack of awareness within the workforce about the impact of the introduction of the NHS’s largest mental health programme, Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), in relation to the downgrading of clinical care and jobs right across the mental health service.
Cotton E (2019) The Industrial Relations of Mental Health. In Jackson, C. and Rizq, R. (Ed.s) The Industrialisation of Care: Counselling & Psychotherapy in a Neoliberal Age. Monmouth: PCCS Books.
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