EHPS National Delegate

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United Kingdom

Lucie Byrne Davis

University of Manchester

In the UK, health psychologists work in a variety of settings including academia, healthcare and the private sector and practice a range of activities including teaching students, patients and health-care professionals, conducting research, designing, delivering and evaluating clinical or behavioural interventions, informing public health policy and providing consultancy services. The range of competencies involved in a health psychologist’s training (see section below) are hence mirrored in the activities that could potentially be undertaken once the training is complete.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. As a member network, the BPS Division of Health Psychology (DHP) promotes the science, education and application of the discipline. BPS DHP serves UK Health Psychology, there are also three branches within DHP to represent the Devolved Nations: DHP Scotland, DHP Northern Ireland and DHP Wales. Each has their own committee and holds regional activities and events.
Twitter: @divhealthpsych, @DHPScotland, @DHPNI

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the regulator of health and care professions in the UK including health psychologists.
Twitter: @The_HCPC.

UK Society for Behavioural Medicine is a network of academic and clinical health researchers interested in applying knowledge, theory and evidence on health-related behaviours to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the United Kingdom and beyond.
Twitter: @UKSBM

The Behavioural Science and Public Health Network is a network for professionals interested in all domains of public health wishing to develop an understanding of health and wellbeing from a behavioural, social and psychological perspective. They aim to share best practice and maximise the opportunity and insights of this multidisciplinary approach by embedding behavioural science into public health practice.
Twitter: @BSPHNetwork

"Requirements for training in Health Psychology in the UK require trainees to first complete a 1 year full-time (or 2 year part-time equivalent) MSc in Health Psychology, which must be accredited by the BPS to lead to a Stage 1 qualification in Health Psychology. The trainee would then need to complete a period of 2 years (or part-time equivalent) supervised practice in Health Psychology which must show competency in the key areas of generic professional practice, research, teaching, consultancy and behaviour change for the trainee to be eligible to apply for Full Membership of the DHP and Chartered Status with the BPS. This also provides the trainee with the Standards of Proficiency (SoPs) needed to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), a legal requirement to be able to practice as a Health Psychologist in the UK. The title “Health Psychologist” is one of seven core designated titles protected by the law which came into effect in July 2009

There are currently 37 accredited MSc Health Psychology (Stage 1) courses within the UK. Details of registered courses can be found on the BPS training page of their website

Stage 2 can be studied through either a university route, of which there are 6 accredited courses in the UK, or via an independent route, whereby the student would be independently supervised by a suitably qualified Health Psychologist to gain the competencies through a BPS agreed training plan. For this, supervisors should be registered on the RAPPS (Register of Applied Practice Psychology Supervisors)."

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has a number of relevant funding streams:

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which brings together seven disciplinary research councils, some of which offer funding relevant to health psychology:

In addition there are national and local charities which offer funding such as Cancer Research UK, Wellcome,

Health Psychology Research and Dissemination in the UK

Research informed teaching and research informed practice lie at the heart of health psychology. The impact factor of the British Journal of Health Psychology continues to be strong, now at 3.311, suggesting a good engagement with the discipline by researchers. Health Psychologists in the UK conduct research in all of the areas discussed above, such as the treatment of illness, maintenance of health and development of health care services and they have strength in applying the Scientist-Practitioner model to their work. Health Psychology has a strong tradition of the development and application of theoretical models to understand and intervene with real world problems, many of which have been developed and tested in the UK. There is also a strength in the development, delivery and evaluation of behavior change interventions, and its importance on the health of the nation(s).