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House of Lords

Monday, 27th March 1995.

The House met at half-past two of the clock: The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Prayers—Read by the Lord Bishop of Worcester.

The Duke of Beaufort— Sat first in Parliament after the death of his kinsman.

Lord Dulverton— Sat first in Parliament after the death of his father.

Psychotherapy: Development of NVQs

The Lord Bishop of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in setting up the lead body to develop national vocational qualifications in psychotherapy, they will consult the British Confederation of Psychotherapists.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the British Confederation of Psychotherapists was consulted in setting up the lead body, Advice Guidance and Counselling and Psychotherapy, but has chosen not to participate since the spring of 1994. Work on national vocational qualifications for psychotherapists is at an early stage and the confederation will be consulted at every stage of development.

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. Is he aware that the Conference of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapists was of the opinion that a deeper and more far reaching discussion was needed? Is he further aware that in February 1995 the Department of Employment declared that it wanted to see higher standards—and this is a matter of standards—in national vocational qualifications and to collaborate with all those who want to see those higher standards? Will the Minister reassure the House that the Conference of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapists will be brought into any further dialogue, in view of the fact that it includes the Tavistock Clinic, the Portman Clinic and the 10 most senior psychoanalytical psychotherapist bodies?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is right about the Department of Employment's plans and aspirations for higher level vocational qualifications. It is open at any time for the British Confederation of Psychotherapists to participate in the work that has been carried out. The Department of Employment and the lead body would be most pleased if that were to happen.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, are those at the Tavistock Clinic being consulted? I recently received a letter from them indicating their grave anxieties. They point out that psychotherapy, concerning itself with the complexity of human emotions and motivation, is singularly unsuitable to be dealt with by mapping occupational competences. In view of the fact that the

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clinic is a major employer of psychotherapists and the biggest training institution for psychotherapy, will the Minister look at those anxieties most seriously?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Turner, raises an important point. The Tavistock Clinic is an important component in the British Confederation of Psychotherapists. The confederation is dealing with the lead body, but if the noble Baroness wishes to draw to my attention any particular anxieties I should be delighted to receive them and to take the matter forward.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, is the Minister aware that there is anxiety about this issue, which is highly complex? Psychotherapists deal with the abused and the abusers. Therefore, will he tell the House whether he is co-operating fully with the Department of Health and his colleague who is sitting at the end of the Bench?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am pleased to be able to confirm that there is close co-operation between the Departments of Health and Employment in respect of this matter. It is true that the whole area of psychotherapy is difficult and complicated.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, while the matter is undoubtedly complex, does the Minister agree that there is some urgency about registration because false memories can be involved, leading to false accusations and some injustices?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, the Government believe that self-regulation is the best answer in the circumstances. Of course, there are instances where something more binding is relevant and that is why the Government are reviewing the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act. Against that background, one of the reasons why NVQs are valuable is that they provide a yardstick to the public about the knowledge of people who are carrying out activities.

Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, I believe that the Minister just said that self-regulation may be the answer. However, is he aware of some of the appalling consequences that have taken place in America because of unskilled or badly skilled people in the line of psychotherapy being allowed to run wild? Will the Government do their best to ensure that that does not happen in this country?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am sure that we all agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dean of Beswick: we do not want to see that kind of thing happening in this country. However, in reply to the supplementary question from the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, after having said that we felt that self-regulation was the best initial approach, I continued to say that the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act is being reviewed, and that is obviously something that we shall bear in mind.

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House what is the present route for qualification as a psychotherapist? Further, can he also tell us why it is considered that the essentially modular form of learning which is involved with NVQs is more suitable?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, one of the problems that faces those looking at psychotherapy is that there appears

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to be no generally recognised qualification. That is one of the reasons for the difficulties as regards the scope of the lead body in the first place. As I understand it, membership of the British Confederation of Psychotherapists requires slightly different membership criteria from the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapists. It is because there is no agreed corpus of knowledge underlying the particular technique, which, as has already been mentioned, is to do with the treatment of the mind, that many such difficulties arise.

Gibraltar Air Links

2.46 p.m.

Lord Merrivale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will seek talks with the Moroccan authorities towards the implementation of the 1976 Exchange of Notes (Cm. 6798), and the amendment of the current UK-Morocco air services arrangements for a Morocco-Gibraltar-Paris route.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): My Lords, Royal Air Maroc can commence operations on a route Morocco-Gibraltar-Paris at any time. However, if a Moroccan airline wished to pick up passengers in Gibraltar for Paris—and vice versa—on that route, the Moroccan authorities would need to seek to amend the current UK/Morocco air services arrangements accordingly. At air service talks on 13th January, the Moroccan authorities made no such request. We expect to resume talks shortly.

Lord Merrivale: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for his response which rather follows the line of the Written Answer I received on 17th January. However, bearing in mind that there is only the UK-Gibraltar-Morocco route and that Great Britain is responsible for the external relations of Gibraltar, is it not for the Government to seek to encourage a further route which would benefit the economic development and the tourism of Gibraltar?

Viscount Goschen: No, my Lords; I do not agree with my noble friend. As with any other country, if Royal Air Maroc wanted to operate a Morocco-Gibraltar-Paris service with traffic rights, it would be up to the Moroccan authorities to request them from us; not the other way round.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister accept that it would be very much to the advantage to the economy of Gibraltar if such a route were put into operation? It would help Gibraltar to combat attempts by Spain to create every sort of difficulty as regards traffic to Gibraltar.

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, the point to be considered here is that we cannot force a foreign airline to operate a service. However, if that airline feels that it has the commercial need and requirement for such a service it

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would approach its national authorities which would seek to engage our national authorities in air service negotiations and make that part of a package.

Lord Merrivale: My Lords, I am afraid that I shall have to refer to my supplementary question again. In fact, I happened to mention "a further route"; I did not just say a route from Morocco. However, as the Government said in a Written Answer on 16th June last year that,

    "some details of the 1987 Agreement need to be updated to take account of the liberalisation of air transport in the Community" [Official Report, 16/6/94; col. WA 109.],

can my noble friend the Minister say what progress, if any, has been made? Will my noble friend also bear in mind the fact that Morocco is not bound by Council regulations?

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