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Agenda for Change (AfC)

The national pay system for NHS Workforce excluding doctors, dentists and very senior managers.

Applied Psychologists

Includes clinical, counselling, forensic, health and neuropsychologists. See the Summary of Professional Groups for definitions of each.

Area of Work

The specialty area that a clinician works in. Below are definitions of the sub categories under ‘Mental Health’ and the other areas of work:

Mental Health – mild to moderate:

A mild mental health problem is when a person has a small number of symptoms that have a limited effect on their daily life. A moderate mental health problem is when a person has more symptoms that can make their daily life much more difficult than usual.

Mental Health – severe and enduring:

People with recurrent or severe and enduring mental illness, for example schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder or organic mental disorder, severe anxiety disorders or severe eating disorders, have complex needs which may require the continuing care of specialist mental health services working effectively with other agencies. Many people with severe mental illness are treated in the community with the support of primary care staff. A range of services is needed in addition to primary care - specialist mental health services, employment, education and training, housing and social support. Needs will fluctuate over time, and services must be able to anticipate and respond to crisis.

Mental Health – early intervention:

A multidisciplinary, coordinated system of service provision to identify risk situations and/or likelihood of psychological ill health.

Mental Health – eating disorders:

Eating disorders are a group of disorders in which abnormal feeding habits are associated with psychological factors. Characteristics may include a distorted attitude toward eating, handling and hoarding food in unusual ways, loss of body weight, nutritional deficiencies, dental erosion, electrolyte imbalances, and denial of extreme thinness. The most common conditions include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Persons with eating disorders of this kind characteristically misperceive themselves as either overweight or of normal weight.

Treatment of eating disorders is often on an outpatient basis unless severe malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances are present, severe depression and suicidal tendencies endanger the patient, or there is evidence that the patient cannot cope with daily living without resorting to abnormal eating patterns. Additionally, the family and home environment may be creating unbearable tension because of a power
struggle over the patient's abnormal eating pattern.

Alcohol & Substance Misuse:

Treatment of individuals with a maladaptive pattern of a drug, alcohol or other chemical agent that leads to social, occupational, psychological or physical health problems.


Forensic psychology deals with the psychological aspects of legal processes, including applying theory to criminal investigations, understanding psychological problems associated with criminal behaviour. Forensic Psychologists work in a range of NHS settings. They work in high and medium security hospitals in the assessment and treatment of those detained under the Mental Health Act. They also work within the community and in child and family settings where issues of risk assessment and offence related work may be critically important. In addition to the NHS, a significant number of forensic psychologists work in the prison service.

Learning Disabilities:

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities, e.g. delayed childhood development, socialising, or physical tasks, which affects someone for their whole life. The level of support someone needs depends on the individual; those with a severe learning disability or profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) will need more care from a multi disciplinary team and with areas such as mobility, personal care and communication.


Neuropsychology looks at the relationship between the physical brain and its various functions, dealing with topics such as sensory perception, memory, and the biological basis for conditions like depression. Psychologists within this field also help with the assessment and rehabilitation of people with brain injury or other neurological conditions, such as strokes, dementia, and degenerative brain disease.

Physical Health:

Psychologists working in physical health deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness as well as supporting people who are chronically ill.

Clinical Psychologists

Psychology staff with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Clinical Staff

All staff working in psychology services within NHSScotland.


Term used in calculating NHSScotland workforce information to describe total filled and vacant posts. Establishment is calculated by adding the number of staff in post to the number of vacant posts.


Health and Care Professions Council. This is a Register for Health and Care Professionals within the UK who are required to meet certain standards of practice. For many professions, including several types of Psychologists, it is a legal requirement to be registered in order to practice in their field.


The actual number of individuals working within NHSScotland. The Scotland figures eliminate any double counting that may exist as a result of an employee holding more than one post.


NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde


NHS Education for Scotland

Other Clinical Staff

Includes posts often taken up by graduates of the MSc in Psychological Therapy in Primary Care and the MSc Applied Psychology for Children and Young People e.g. Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology counsellors, assistant psychologists, cognitive behavioural therapists, other therapists and other professionals.

Target Age

The age group of patients seen by a clinician. For Psychology Services this can be child & adolescent (0-18/19 years), adult (20-64 years), or older adult (65+ years). Age non-specific refers to those clinicians who see patients from across the lifespan and can also include non-clinical work such as teaching.


A post which was vacant and being advertised for recruitment at the census date.

Whole time equivalent (WTE)

The WTE adjusts headcount figures to take account of parttime working. For example, NHS Agenda for Change staff work 37.5 whole-time hours per week so a staff member working part-time at 30 hours per week would be calculated as 0.8 WTE.