Mental Health Practitioner

From April 2021, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) can recruit Mental Health Practitioners (MHPs) through the ARRS, to support population health management.

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.

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. If necessary, CCGs will broker the agreement between the PCN and the community mental health services provider.

PCNs contribute 50 per cent of the salary and employers NI/pension costs, reimbursable via the ARRS. Remainder is covered by the local provider of mental health services, which will be confirmed in the NHS Standard Contract.

Download the NHS Confederation guide which explains how MHPs can support population health management through providing a combined consultation, advice, triage and liaison function.

Mental Health Practitioner deployment arrangements
  • 1 adult and older adults’ practitioner per Primary Care Network (PCN).
  • 1 children and young people’s practitioner per PCN.
  • 1 whole-time equivalent (WTE) for 2021/22 practitioner per PCN with less than 100,000 patients.
  • 2 WTEs for 2022/23 and 3 WTEs by 2023/24 for PCNs with less than 100,000 patients, subject to successful implementation.
  • Double entitlements for PCNs with 100,000+ patients.


Close up cropped shot of woman leading meeting with coworker in office lobby by Jacob Lund from Noun Project

The benefits of employing a Mental Health Practitioner within a PCN include:

  • No formal referral processes required.
  • Practitioner works as part of the PCN multi-disciplinary team.
  • Provides a bridge between primary care and
  • specialist mental health providers.
  • Can draw on a range of provider mental health services.
  • Reduces employment burden.
  • Improved integration between primary care and mental health.


GP consultation

Indicative reimbursement levels are Agenda for Change bands 5,6,7,8a, depending on the individual clinician providing the service.

The practitioner(s) are additional to MHPs and co-located IAPT practitioners that are already embedded within general practice.

If an individual has already been identified, the PCN should work with the local community mental health services provider on employment options that would enable the post to be eligible for reimbursement.

The Mental Health Nursing Competence and Career Framework demonstrates a career in mental health nursing offers high-quality, meaningful clinical roles, from the newly-qualified registered nurse right through to advanced practice to consultant roles. It also shows progression can be through a clinical or managerial route and enables a long fulfilling career, working to the top of their capability.