I have always had an interest in physical healthcare. Prior to becoming a clinical psychologist, I trained and worked as a registered general nurse at Guy’s Hospital. Since qualifying as a clinical psychologist on the Salomons course, I have worked in a variety of physical health settings. Throughout this time I have worked some sessions in chronic pain services. For two and half years, I was a Research Associate at Imperial College London where I studied and published on the psychological and physical impact of neuropathic pain. I worked at the University College London NHS Foundation Trust for over 14 years leading and developing the psychology teams in the Pain Management Centre at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and the Facial Pain Team at The Eastman Dental Hospital where I was Clinical Lead of the multi-disciplinary team for three years. I have presented at numerous national and international conferences and have written chapters on psychological interventions for people with physical health problems.
I am pleased to see that current policies and guidelines have increased the focus on people who have existing mental health problems and who then develop an unrelated physical health problem. I hope that this will improve healthcare for this population. However, I believe that there is significantly less focus on the provision of psychological interventions for people with physical health conditions who are struggling with managing the psychological, social and physical impact of the condition, especially those who are in-patients in acute secondary care settings and those who require an interdisciplinary physical and psychological team approach. I am passionate about increasing the focus on this population and aim to address the lack of parity of access to psychological professions for people with physical health conditions both within and between healthcare organisations. Another of my interests is interdisciplinary team working and how teams can support this population. I believe that all healthcare providers need to continue to move away from a dualistic model of physical health and towards an integrated understanding of the interactions between a physical health condition and psychosocial factors. On the top of my ‘bucket list’ is a wish to see this understanding translate into improved care, healthcare experiences and outcomes for this population.
Dr Clare Daniel is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and the Trust Lead of Psychological Services at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.