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Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

Introducing Elspeth Ward, NWPPN New Roles Leadership Fellow!

31 Jul 23


I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself, my journey and as so many have asked questions like ‘what is this role…’ ‘and why...’ try to make sense of that for you (and for myself).

I’m a registered (feels good to be finally able to say that!) Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). I have worked in NHS Talking Therapies (previously IAPT) for 15 years.

Over this time, I have witnessed and been a part of a journey, I started as a PWP, at the start of my journey there was little identified career progression within the role and no registration but I’ve been fortunate to witness and to have held two further clinical roles (Senior PWP and Deputy PWP Clinical Lead) and an operational role (NHS Talking Therapies Team Lead) due to a shift in the way we have begun to see the Psychological Workforce. This shift has also allowed me to explore and develop interests and skills in Supervision, Wellbeing of Staff, Safeguarding, Long Term Conditions and the development of new roles in Services.

The workforce expansion has certainly led to opportunities and greater acknowledgment of PWPs who have clinical and operational skills to contribute and lead with. And recently, the long awaited recognition, of becoming a registered practitioner.

I have been fortunate to build relationships that allowed me to learn more about the PPN and its role to ‘Inform, Enable and Influence’ the Psychological Professions space. To work on the Psychological Practitioners Community of Practice Kick Starter Event and to become a Co-Chair the NW PPN Psychological Practitioners Community of Practice – representing PWPs. In this role, I am a reporting member for Psychological Practitioners to the PPN NW Workforce Council – supporting us to have a voice in the wider system.

This is important as we have faced challenges as a new workforce, initially many of these were external, recognition, understanding; however, more recently there have been those within. We have additional new roles coming to the fore, C(Y)WP, EMHP, MHWP, and in the NW TAPPs/APPs. These raise new questions, how do we fit and link together, how do we ensure we have our own voice as practitioners in the wider more established system, how can we support each other…?

The advert for the New Roles Leadership Fellow said: Are you passionate about improving outcomes and making a difference for the Psychological Professions at a strategic level?

Yes, yes I am! I believe a diverse workforce makes us better able to serve our populations. I believe in increased access, at different levels, to psychological treatments and psychologically informed care.

What am I excited for? To continue to experience the journey, to increase my knowledge and skills in leadership, project management, community of practice and team working. To work with our Expert by Experience Steering Group.

To be involved in the unique opportunity to contribute to strategic workforce development within the Psychological Professions, particularly on behalf of all those in new practitioner roles.

Finally, my little plea to all of you in ‘new roles’ – the MHWPs, EMHPs, C(Y)WPs and PWPs – come and join our Psychological Practitioners Community of Practice, join us on our journey and let’s make our voice loud!

I look forward to meeting you,