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Principal Clinical Psychologist - Autism Services

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Whiston, Prescot
£58,972 to £68,525 per annum
Closing date
7 Jun 2024

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Job Details

Are you an enthusiastic Clinical Psychologist with experience and interest of supporting autistic people with complex needs? This post offers an exciting opportunity to develop clinical and strategic skills and shape the development of an exciting innovative new service.

The Intensive Support Team for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is an innovative, dynamic and responsive service that provides a valued service to autistic people who are at risk of a breakdown in community care, and/or an inappropriate admission to hospital. The team offer additional support to those with complex needs and work in collaboration with our mental health services.

You will have the opportunity to work in an evolving team and at the same time be part of well-established autism team working alongside Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists, Nurses, support workers and assistant psychologists within the autism service.

The service model is one of supporting autistic people who are possibly in crisis and require additional support with regard to their autism to keep them safe and well in the community. This will involve working closely with specialist practitioners and other health professionals to support this complex group of individuals to remain in their community setting and, where an appropriate admission has occurred, to be discharged promptly and safely in line with national Transforming Care strategy.

Main duties of the job

To ensure the systematic provision of a high-quality specialist clinical psychology service to Improving Access to Autism (ASC) service, service users, across a community primary care setting. To advise, supervise and support the assessment and treatment provided by clinical members of the teams who provide psychologically based care and treatment within the ASC service. To work autonomously within professional guidelines and exercise responsibility for the systematic governance of psychological practice within the service/team. To utilise research skills for audit, policy and service development and research. To propose and implement policy changes within the area served by the service. To work in an effectivepartnership with the clinical service leadership including other IAPT team members and members of other agencies responsible for a client's care.

About us

Mersey Care is one of the largest trusts providing physical health and mental health services in the North West, serving more than 1.4 million people across our region and are also commissioned for services that cover the North West, North Wales and the Midlands.

We offer specialist inpatient and community services that support physical and mental health and specialist inpatient mental health, learning disability, addiction and brain injury services. Mersey Care is one of only three trusts in the UK that offer high secure mental health facilities.

At the heart of all we do is our commitment to 'perfect care' - care that is safe, effective, positively experienced, timely, equitable and efficient. We support our staff to do the best job they can and work alongside service users, their families, and carers to design and develop future services together. We're currently delivering a programme of organisational and service transformation to significantly improve the quality of the services we provide and safely reduce cost as we do so.

Flexible working requests will be considered for all roles.

Job description

Job responsibilities

To provide specialist psychological assessments of clients referred to the service based upon the appropriate use, interpretation, and integration of complex psychological data from a variety of sources including psychological and neuropsychological tests, self-report measures, rating scales, direct and indirect structured observations and semi-structured interviews with clients, family members and others involved in the clients care.

To formulate and implement plans for the formal psychological treatment and/or management of a clients mental health problems, based upon an appropriate conceptual framework of the clients problems, and employing methods of proven efficacy, across the full range of care settings.

To be responsible for implementing a range of psychological interventions for individuals and groups, within and across Mersey Care IAPT teams adjusting and refining psychological formulations drawing upon different explanatory models and maintaining a number of provisional hypotheses.

To evaluate and make decisions about treatment options taking into account both theoretical and therapeutic models and highly complex factors concerning historical and developmental processes that have shaped the individual, family or group.

To exercise autonomous professional responsibility for the assessment, treatment and discharge of clients whose problems are managed by psychologically based care.

To provide specialist psychological advice, guidance and consultation to other professionals contributing directly to clients formulation, diagnosis and treatment plan.

To ensure that all members of the treating service have access to a psychologically based framework for understanding and care of clients of the service, through the provision of advice and consultation and the dissemination of psychological research and theory.

To undertake risk assessment and risk management for individual clients and to provide general advice to other professionals on psychological aspects of risk assessment and management.

To communicate in a skilled and sensitive manner, information concerning the assessment, formulation and treatment plans of clients under their care and to monitor and evaluate progress during the course of both uni- disciplinary and multi- disciplinary care.

To provide expertise, advice and support to facilitate the effective and appropriate provision of psychological care by all members of the treatment service.

Will be required to sit in a constrained position for client therapy and extended assessment sessions.

Will be required to tolerate and manage frequent verbal abuse and occasional physical aggression.

Will be required to deal with the intense emotional atmosphere surrounding therapy contacts which may be highly distressing on a daily basis, and to work with frequent intense concentration for much of the clinical sessions of assessment and therapy. This will include writing reports of a potentially distressing nature e.g., safeguarding adults.

For full list of duties and responsibilities please refer to the Job Description Attached.

Person Specification



  • Post-graduate doctoral level training in clinical psychology (or its equivalent for those trained prior to 1996) as accredited by the BPS, including specifically models of psychopathology, clinical psychometrics and neuropsychology, two or more distinct psychological therapies and lifespan developmental psychology
  • Registered with the Health Professions Council as a Clinical Psychologist

Knowledge/ Experience


  • Skills in the use of complex methods of psychological assessment intervention and management frequently requiring sustained and intense concentration
  • Well developed skills in the ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, highly technical, and clinically sensitive information to clients, their families, carers and other professional colleagues both within and outside the NHS
  • Skills in providing consultation to other professional and nonprofessional groups
  • Doctoral level knowledge of research design and methodology, including complex multivariate data analysis as practiced within the field of clinical psychology
  • Knowledge of legislation in relation to the client group and mental health
  • Knowledge of attachment theory
  • Evidence of continuing professional development as recommended by the BPS
  • Formal training in IAPT compliant supervision of other psychological professionals including at least one IAPT approved therapeutic modality
  • Experience of working with a wide variety of client groups, across the whole life course and presenting with the full range of clinical severity across a variety of settings including maintaining a high degree of professionalism in the face of highly emotive and distressing problems, verbal abuse and the threat of physical abuse
  • Specialist experience in the area of complex trauma- related mental health
  • Experience of exercising full clinical responsibility for clients' psychological care and treatment
  • Experience of planning and delivering ongoing training and CPD to clinical staff at steps two and three within a stepped care model
  • Experience of planning and providing supervision of clinical staff at steps two and three within a stepped care model
  • Ability to meet agreed/specified service targets
  • Expertise and knowledge across the spectrum of an IAPT service
  • Experience of working in Primary Care Services
  • Worked in a service where agreed targets in place demonstrating clinical outcomes
  • Contributed to the developing IAPT programme and understanding of the national IAPT service and how it links to governmental objectives
  • Demonstrates an understanding for the need to use evidence based psychological therapies and how it relates to this post



  • Continuous Improvement
  • Accountability
  • Respectfulness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Support
  • High professional standards
  • Responsive to service users
  • Engaging leadership style
  • Strong customer service belief
  • Transparency and honesty
  • Discreet
  • Change oriented



  • Ability to identify, provide and promote appropriate means of support to carers and staff exposed to highly emotional situations
  • Able to lead a service and make decisions and judgments about the best possible way forward in a complex work environment where the evidence base is evolving
  • Ability to identify, and employ, as appropriate, clinical governance mechanisms for the support and maintenance of clinical practice in the face of regular exposure to highly emotive material
  • Ability to develop and use complex multimedia materials for presentations in public, professional and academic settings
  • Ability to demonstrate clinical leadership with a service sector
  • Ability to contain and work within organisational stress
  • Enthusiasm for a broad range of psychological approaches and interest in models of service delivery and ability to articulate the value added by clinical psychology services within the context of multi- disciplinary team working
  • IT literate

Employer details

Employer name

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust


Willis House

23 Cumber Lane

Whiston, Prescot

L35 2YZ

Any attachments will be accessible after you click to apply.



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