Clinical supervision in a UK military Department of Community Mental Health


Within mental health settings, clinical supervision (CS) is a core activity that is in line with current clinical governance guidelines. The UK Armed Forces operate an in-house mental health service. It aims to provide high quality mental healthcare to military personnel. The Defence Mental Health Services (DMHS) make use of various National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)-approved psychological treatments. This audit demonstrates that the uptake of CS may not be meeting the service guidelines and this warrants further investigation.


Recent service developments in the NHS, on the provision of talking therapies such as the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative, have made the compliance with clinical supervision (CS) inherent in its service guidelines. This paper presents the findings of an audit, measuring compliance with CS among clinicians providing psychological therapies within a military Department of Community Mental Health. In this study, compliance rates were found to be lower than the Defence guidelines, which are already modest in their expectations compared with IAPT CS standards. Potential reasons for this are hypothesised, including high levels of staff rotation, other military commitments, clinicians not keeping up-to-date records and the pressures of meeting performance indicators on other clinical issues. Proposals for improving the uptake of CS are suggested along with areas for further research.

Full Reference

Wesson, M. I., Whybrow, Dean, Greenberg, N. and Gould, M. 2013. Clinical supervision in a UK military department of community mental health. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 159(4), pp. 291-293.