top of page
THC Advert (1).png

An Introduction to the Primary Care Network Mental Health Practitioner

Updated: May 25, 2023

At THC Primary Care, we try to provide the answers to your questions, and in this blog, we do exactly that. Someone posted on a forum, "does anyone have an induction plan for the mental health practitioner?" , so we shared ours to provide a starter for ten.


This is just an example, and you likely need to make amendments to this guide to ensure the post is right for your network.

This resource does not provide all of the information that you will need to complete your Mental Health Practitioner induction. However, it should be enough to point you in the right direction.

In this blog, we provide

  • Some background to the role

  • The aims of the role

  • What is in and out of scope

  • An example of an induction checklist

Let's jump in!



From April 2021, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) could recruit Mental Health Practitioners (MHPs) through the additional role reimbursement scheme (ARRS) to support population health management. Click here to read a blog on this topic.

Working with other PCN-based roles, MHPs can address the potential range of bio-psycho-social needs of patients with mental health problems as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

To promote integrated working, MHPs are employed and provided by the local community mental health services provider under a local service agreement but are wholly deployed by the PCN.

Financially, PCNs contribute 50 per cent of the salary and employers' NI/pension costs, reimbursable via the ARRS. The remainder is covered by the local provider of mental health services.

The NHS Confederation produced a guide in April 2021 to support the recruitment of the MHP, which I encourage you to check out if you a struggling to embed or get the most value from this position.

The only change from the guide is that from March 2022, networks can now employ 2 mental health practitioners.

The aims of the role

The Mental Health Practitioner will work to the following six aims:

  1. Promote mental and physical health and prevent ill health.

  2. Treat mental health problems effectively through evidence-based psychological and/ or pharmacological approaches that maximise benefits and minimise the likelihood of inflicting harm and use a collaborative approach that: - builds on strengths and supports choice; and - is underpinned by a single care plan accessible to all involved in the person’s care.

  3. Improve quality of life, including supporting individuals to contribute to and participate in their communities as fully as possible, connect with meaningful activities, and create or fulfil hopes and aspirations in line with their individual wishes.

  4. Maximise continuity of care and ensure no “cliff-edge” of lost care and support by moving away from a system based on referrals, arbitrary thresholds, unsupported transitions and discharge to little or no support. Instead, move towards a flexible system that proactively responds to ongoing care needs.

  5. Work collaboratively across statutory and non-statutory commissioners and providers within a local health and care system to address health inequalities and social determinants of mental ill health.

  6. Build a model of care based on inclusivity, particularly for people with coexisting needs, with the highest levels of complexity and who experience marginalisation.

Out of scope

  • Low-level mental health

  • Suicidal or needing immediate referral

  • Children

  • Older age mental health (above 65)


  • Patients will be clinically triaged

  • The MHP will have their patients visible on the appointment rota

  • Appointment slots on the rota for telephone, video or face-to-face where appropriate

  • When a consultation needs to be face-to-face, individual practices will need to provide a room to facilitate this

  • The standard appointment length will be 30 minutes and should be increased for more complex patients

  • An admin slot at the end of each session

  • An initial assessment for patients contacting the practice with moderate anxiety and depression

  • A review of patients with established mental health diagnosis if there is a need for review e.g deterioration

  • Routine mental health review / SMI – Serious Mental Illness is in scope

  • The MHP will have a rota showing allocated sessions with practices divided between a morning and afternoon session

  • All consultations will be recorded directly into the clinical system

  • The mental health practitioner will make use of existing mental health review templates where appropriate

  • If a follow-up appointment is needed, the Mental Health Practitioner can book this into the next session allocated to the practice

  • Each practice will provide a named Clinical Lead to which any operational/clinical concerns can be escalated

  • If medication is indicated following the assessment, the MHP can book with the duty doctor or task the relevant clinician

  • The MHP will identify patients for review by the Clinical Pharmacist/ Social Prescriber where needed and can refer them directly.

  • The PCN will monitor capacity of the service closely

The Mental Health practitioner will not hold a caseload.

Appointments will be made within a reasonable time in accordance to risk.

The PCN will provide data monthly for the mental health practitioner

  • Number of initial assessments - telephone, electronic consultation

  • Number of second assessments appointments

  • Prescription slots

  • DNA rate

  • DNA follow up outcomes

  • Sign posting outcomes

XXXXX will endeavour to introduce KPI’s in the future

The PCN and Mental Health Trust will collaborate to understand mental health presentation to Primary Care, the flow of patients within the system and the contribution of social determinants of health and develop interventions to meet the PCN population Health need.

Download our Checklist HERE

We hope this helps!


From coaching to courses. Our blog, newsletters and the Business of healthcare podcast. We are a small team hugely passionate about Primary Care Networks and the PCN Manager role.

We try to give you as much FREE content as we can alongside our day job of managing Primary Care Networks.

If you need support to apply the insights we share, we would love to help you. Why not see if we are available for a conversation to discuss your needs - an email to is all you have to do and one of us may be available to discuss things straight away.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at


About the author

I'm Tara; I am the founder of THC Primary Care, an award-winning healthcare consultancy specialising in Primary Care Network Management and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast, where we have now published over 200 episodes. I have over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sectors, and I have supported over 50 PCNs by providing interim management, training and consultancy.

I have managed teams across multiple sites and countries; I have an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, I'm published in the London Journal of Primary Care, and I am the author of over 250 blogs.

I have 3 children. My eldest has Asthma, my middle child has a kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome, and my youngest daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, so outside of work, healthcare plays a huge role in my life.



bottom of page