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The NHS Plan (Department of Health, 2000) first described the role of the Graduate Mental Health Worker (GMHW) orGraduate primary care mental health workers (GPCMHW). They were introduced by the UK government in 20003 to provide treatment and support for those with common mental health disorders in primary care. The initial aim was to provide 1000 workers trained on a one year part time post graduate certificate, to be employed across the Primary Care Trusts in England to meet the capacity needs identified in the UK National Service Framework for Mental Health (1999) and the NHS Plan (2000).
It is intended that most graduate mental health workers will obtain the Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Mental Health Care Practice.
The GMHW is involved in 3 main areas treatment, team working and networking. Some services GMHWs may provide include:
- Treatment of individuals or group interventions;
- Team work - working within primary care and supporting other collegues;
- Networking - making the links between primary care and specialist services also within primary care;
- Guided Self Help;
- Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy;
- Book presciption schemes;
Adequate clinical supervision is one of the keys to maintaining the quality of the clinical work offered by graduate mental health workers. The NHS has published guidance for courses and employers on what to provide pdf
- Bower P (2002) Primary Care Mental Health Workers; models of working and evidence of effectiveness. London: British Journal of General Practice.
- Cutcliffe, J. R., Butterworth, T. & Proctor, B. (2001). Fundamental Themes in Clinical
Supervision. London, Routledge. An edited British book that examines a range of themes that would be relevant to the IAPT programme.
- Crosland A, Harrington B & Papworth M (2003) Graduate Mental Health Workers in Primary Care– evaluation of a pilot programme. Durham: Northern Centre for Mental Health
- Dept of Health (1999b) National Service Framework for Mental Health. London HMSO
- Department of Health (2000) The NHS Plan: A Plan for Investment; A Plan for Reform. London: Department of Health 
- [Department of Health (2002) Shifting the Balance of Power: The Next Steps. London: Department of Health [www.doh.gov.uk/shiftingthebalance/nextsteps.pdf pdf]
- Department of Health (2003) Fast-Forwarding Primary Care Mental Health: Graduate Primary Care Mental Health Workers. London: Department of Health. 
- Fleming, I., & Steen, L. (2004). Supervision and Clinical Psychology: Theory,
Practice and Perspectives. Hove, Brunner Routledge. An edited book to inform clinical psychologists about supervision, which will be crucial for the success of the IAPT programme.
- Lyons C & Fisher D (2005) Primary Care Graduate Mental Health Workers: the career progression dilemma.
- NIMHE Northwest Development Centre (2004) Primary Care Graduate Mental Health Workers - a practical guide. Manchester: Nimhe Northwest