An exploration of why health professionals seek to hold statutory powers in mental health services in England: considerations of the Approved Mental Health Professional role

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Abstract

Background: There is a shortage of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs), who are responsible for compulsory admission decisions under the Mental Health Act (MHA), 1983. Only 5% of AMHPs are health professionals, over a decade after the role was opened to them. Aims: The research aimed to identify factors motivating and discouraging health professionals from becoming and working as AMHPs. Methods: Semi-structured interviews (n = 52) with professionals enabled to become AMHPs by the MHA, 2007, including AMHPs; those that had not become AMHPs; and AMHP managers. Additionally, a survey of AMHP senior managers. Interviews and open-ended survey questions were analysed thematically. Results: Motivating and discouraging factors were grouped as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivations were: altruism; the dynamic and contained nature of the work; and fit with experience. Intrinsic discouraging factors were: damage to therapeutic relationships; the perceived clash between AMHP work and professional values. Extrinsic motivations were: career progression; and professional esteem. Extrinsic discouraging factors were: profile and reputation of the service; organisational commitment; management support; and level of remuneration. Conclusions: The research suggests that changes in organisational responsibility for running AMHP services and raising the profile of the role might help increase recruitment and retention of health professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date24 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Approved Mental Health Professional
  • legislation
  • motivation
  • statutory powers
  • workforce

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