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Principal Clinical Psychologist/ Principal Psychological Therapist

Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust
£61,341 to £70,439 a year pa inc HCAS (P.T. pro rata)
Closing date
30 Jan 2023

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Band 8B
Part Time
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Brent Integrated Psychological Therapies Service

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an exceptional candidate to develop the urgent care pathway for autistic people experiencing a mental health crisis and improve their experience of inpatient mental health settings.

You will be a highly skilled professional who works in a non-aversive, person centred and therapeutic way. Your main task will be to support your colleagues and individual service users to better identify and support autistic people in the care pathway in order to improve outcomes and provide a better experience for autistic people.

The successful applicant may have contact with patients or service users. As an NHS Trust we strongly encourage and support vaccination as this remains the best way to protect yourself, your family, your colleagues and of course patients and service users when working on our healthcare settings.

Main duties of the job

Are you looking for a unique opportunity to make a difference? Do you want a role which is able to influence delivery of care? Do you want to be part of shaping the Autism agenda across North West London? Are you a skilled Clinical Psychologist looking for your next big challenge?

You will be skilled in a Positive Behaviour approach and able to facilitate pathways to appropriate services. Promoting individual rights, independence choice and inclusion are essential areas for consideration, as is knowledge and understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and related guidance/legislation.

As part of the role, you will be expected to provide an expert support and challenge function by offering in-reach support and advice to MDTs, providing person centred consultancy, advice and training and delivering general autism awareness training to clinical and non-clinical staff, including the development of an autism ambassador network to support development of sustainable local autism expertise. You will be part of a wider network across the Trust and the ICS driving forward.

This role will suit candidates seeking to develop their strategic leadership skills at the same time as retaining their clinical role. The Trust will provide the suitable candidate with training, mentoring and support to develop into and beyond the role.

If you think that this could be you please contact Dr Tracy Chotoo on

About us

Based flexibly across inpatient services (Brent and Kensington & Chelsea), you will work closely with the Senior Leadership team, MDT and Experts by Experience to support and drive forward professional leadership and practice as well as leading on standards of clinical care delivery within services.

Job description Job responsibilities

The postholder will be responsible, for the development of an urgent care pathway for autistic service users experiencing a mental health crisis. The post holder will:
  • Offer in-reach support and advice to MDTs in mainstream mental inpatient services to improve care and treatment and reduce length of stay for autistic patients;
  • Provide person centred consultancy, advice and training to key clinicians in mental health services, police, probation and other local services as appropriate;
  • Work with local CCG commissioners to ensure the dynamic support register for autistic adults is up to date and crisis and contingency plans are in place; and
  • Contribute to the development of appropriate policies, pathways and tools to reduce health inequalities for autistic patients and ensure sustainability.
  • Develop a team and expertise to support the autism inpatient pathway and improve care for autistic people


It is expected that this work will support improved outcomes and provide a better experience of care for autistic people by:
  • Building sustainable local autism expertise within mental health trusts, in particular adult acute inpatient wards but also health-based places of safety and crisis services where applicable;
  • Reducing admissions and re-admissions;
  • Reducing length of stay;
  • Reducing number of incidents
  • Reducing reliance on the use of psychotropic drugs; and
  • Improving staff confidence and willingness to make reasonable adjustments.

As an autonomous practitioner he/she will be responsible for their own work and interventions and for the interpretation of agreed guidelines and policies.

Person Specification Knowledge, skills and experience Essential
  • Advanced specialist knowledge, both theoretical and practical, of psychological therapy applied to clinical practice.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and related guidance/ legislation.
  • Knowledge of assessments for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, in particular ADOS-2, ADI-R and AAA assessments.
  • Knowledge of the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act.
  • Able to provide and receive highly complex, highly sensitive or highly contentious information, where there are significant barriers to acceptance which need to be overcome using the highest level of interpersonal and communication skills such as would be required when communicating in a hostile, antagonistic or highly emotive atmosphere
  • Able to make judgements involving highly complex facts or situations, which require the evaluation of a range of options (e.g. the assessment of specialist clinical conditions and the determination of treatment options), Where expert opinions may differ
  • Able to plan, prioritise and organise own service user caseload, treatment programmes (individual or group) involving other staff, and other aspects of the work such as research activity
  • Keyboard skills
  • Psychomotor skills necessary to administer complex psychological tests and video equipment
  • Able to complete satisfactorily breakaway training
  • Able to use database, word processing and test administration/scoring software
  • Evidence of continuing professional development
  • Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge of the assessment and treatment of complex mental health problems
  • Theoretical knowledge of harm reduction initiatives and interventions within an acute inpatient setting. Knowledge of quality improvement methodology.
  • Knowledge of change methodology.
  • Knowledge of the NHS Leadership Framework and Positive Leadership Models
  • Experience of working as a qualified psychological therapist
  • Experience of working with autistic adult service users who present with complex mental health problems
  • Experience of working with autistic adults in an acute inpatient environment.
  • Experience of supporting inpatient teams to make reasonable adjustments to care and treatment.
  • Experience of teaching, training and/or supervision.
  • Experience of working in acute mental health services
  • Experience of the application of psychological therapy in different cultural contexts
  • Experience of facilitating MDT care planning meetings with inpatient MDTs.
  • Experience of providing clinical supervision to junior psychologists and other non-qualified psychological therapists, e.g. PWPS.
  • Experience of having facilitated/co-facilitated psychological therapy groups
  • Experience of facilitating reflective practice to teams.
  • A recorded/registered doctoral level qualification in clinical (or its equivalent for those trained prior to 1996)/ counselling psychology
  • Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council where appropriate.
  • Training in clinical supervision
  • Advanced keyboard skills
  • Other related academic qualifications
PERSONAL Essential
  • Able to sit for lengthy periods of time while demonstrating active listening skills
  • Able to maintain light physical effort for short periods
  • Able to maintain intense concentration frequently and for prolonged periods with unpredictable service users
  • Able to function in potentially traumatic circumstances and in highly emotionally distressing circumstances on a frequent basis (e.g. in dealing with service users with serious mental illness, histories of violence, self-harm, sexual abuse)
  • Able to provide services in an environment with service users who may be agitated and where awareness must always be maintained
  • Able to hold the stress of service users compulsorily detained in hospital
  • Able to respond adaptably to rapidly changing service demands
OTHER Essential
  • Knowledge of the professional codes of conduct
  • Must be capable of being guided by precedent, clearly defined policies, procedures and codes of conduct
  • Able to reflect on own professional practice Willing to participate actively in CPD.
  • Ability to identify and employ mechanisms of clinical governance as appropriate, to support and maintain clinical practice in the face of regular exposure to highly emotive material and challenging behaviour
  • Ability to teach and train others, using a variety of complex multi-media materials suitable for presentations within public, professional and academic settings.
  • Record of having published in either peer reviewed or academic or professional journals and/or books

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