Conducting a consensus conference to design a psychology service model for acute mental health wards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. This paper outlines best practice recommendations for the clinical psychologist’s role in inpatient settings and also presents a methodology for deriving evidence-based recommendations, which may be replicated by healthcare professionals in other areas of service development.

Methods. Twenty-three, nationally-drawn experts, deemed expert by profession and/or experience attended a one-day conference. Participants were presented with findings from previous research and key unanswered questions in terms of how psychological services should be delivered in inpatient settings. Participants discussed the information presented within small groups and then independently responded to the questions posed. Responses to questions either involved ranking priorities or choosing the best possible option in terms of what or how aspects of the model should be delivered.

Results. We were able to identify referral priorities for formulation, nurse-led psychosocial interventions and psychological therapy using ranking questions. Consensus (defined as 70% agreement) was achieved within 1-3 voting rounds for all questions which involved selecting one of a range of possible options. These responses provided information about how to deliver formulation, supervision of nurse-led psychosocial interventions, staff well-being interventions and one-to-one therapy, as well as psychologists’ own training and supervisions needs.

Conclusions. Findings provide recommendations relating to five different service areas for inpatient settings seeking to implement a psychological service model: formulation, nurse-led interventions, one-to-one therapy, staff well-being, and psychologist training and supervision. Additionally, we showcase a methodology for synthesising knowledge and decision-making that can be implemented by researchers and healthcare professionals seeking to design interventions or service models in other settings.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Early online date17 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jun 2020

Related information


View all