Mental Health: Supporting NHS Workforce Resilience Conference & Exhibition

  • Tuesday, 17 March 2020
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 16:30
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Looking after the mental health and wellbeing of staff is paramount in delivering benefits to NHS organisations and ultimately the patients in their care. Join us in March 2020 to discuss and learn more about the NHS’ forward plan to support the resiliency of the workforce.

The NHS loses 348,028 working days due to anxiety, stress and depression in just one month. According to research conducted by RAND Europe 85% of NHS staff felt that their health and wellbeing impacts upon patient care. Estimates from Public Health England put the cost of staff absence due to poor health at £2.4bn per year – accounting for around £1 in every £40 of the total budget. Following last year’s Delivering the NHS Long Term Plan conference, Open Forum will produce the first in a series of national policy conferences reviewing initiatives designed to assess NHS organisations against new frameworks and develop best practices as well as supporting staff with individual mental health and wellbeing issues.

The government has pledged an overhaul of mental health and wellbeing support for NHS staff. The new workforce implementation plan draws on recommendations that will be discussed as part of the conference programme, including:

  • Post-incident support and fast-tracked mental health referrals for NHS staff.
  • Upgrading rest and social spaces for on-call staff and trainees, providing improved shower facilities, refreshments and security.
  • Ensuring line managers have training and support to assist staff who disclose a mental health issue, as well as raising awareness amongst staff of the signs and symptoms of poor MH.
  • A dedicated, confidential mental health support service operating 24/7.

This conference, in continuation with Open Forum's successive years of promoting mental health best practices, will provide invaluable updates and new information on the road map to improved mental health support for NHS staff. Our 2020 series of MH conferences are encouraging initiatives that would see the NHS as well as social services, housing/education providers and the criminal justice system collaborate on MH policy development and care provision to develop truly consistent, cross-sector care.

  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Representative from the Workforce Race Equality Standard (invited)

The NHS has always been reliant on a diverse workforce – arrivals on the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948 were some of the first nurses and doctors providing care in the health service. As the NHS sets out it’s long-term plan for the future of health and social care in the UK, it’s vital that the experience and opportunities of all staff reflect the open, inclusive values upon which the NHS was built.


Fostering diversity in the workplace enhances an organisations ability to attract and retain top talent, deliver high quality patient care, improve patient satisfaction and patient safety. The Workforce Race Equality Standard is an objective assessment of how the NHS is achieving these targets and making recommendations as to how NHS organisations can close gaps in workplace inequalities between BME and white staff. WRES data has demonstrated that progress is being made in that direction:

  • In 2016, white staff were 1.57 times more likely to be recruited from shortlisting; in 2018 this had dropped to 1.45.
  • In March 2018, there were 226 BME board members across all NHS trusts, an increase of 12 since 2017.
  • In 2016, BME staff were 1.56 times more likely to enter the formal disciplinary process compared with white staff. This likelihood decreased to 1.37 times more likely in 2017 and 1.24 in 2018.
  • Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive, Mersey Care NHS Trust (confirmed)

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust identified barriers in its own internal culture that had prevented the adoption of an environment where staff felt supported and empowered to learn from situations where care has not gone as expected - the Trust undertook work to establish a transparent, open, 'Just and Learning Culture' that asked "what was responsible, not who was responsible".


The Trust worked with internationally recognised expert in restorative justice and author of best-selling book 'Just Culture', Professor Sidney Dekker, as well as assessing best practices in industries like airlines, nuclear technology, oil and exploration as workforces that engage with daily tasks knowing that there is always an element of risk. Mersey Care introduced initiatives and recommendations to promote openness and transparency in order to accelerate the rate of care improvement at the Trust:

  • 100% of leaders Band 7 and above (or equivalent) have been assessed and developed a plan to support their teams in a Just and Learning environment.
  • Supporting colleagues’ psychological safety by introducing bullying awareness programmes for staff based on a preventative approach to recognising bullying behaviours and development of a process to resolve issues.
  • Development of a standardised framework to support learning from incidents in a manner that ensures risks are addressed and learning is maximised.
  • Produce a guide for colleagues and service users on Just and Learning expectations to describe the shared responsibility between individuals, teams and the organisation to create a safe and compassionate environment. 

A grassroots, non-profit campaigning group ran by doctors, for doctors - EveryDoctor works in pursuit of universally decent, safe working conditions for doctors; as well as challenging misleading media messaging about the NHS workforce and promoting fair, evidence-based thinking in health-related policy. Dr Julia Patterson is a leading campaigner in the fight against public sector cuts that are depleting NHS resources at the expense of patient safety and workforce morale. This presentation will look at prospective models of strengthening the interaction between doctors, bodies that represent them in the workplace and campaigns that address issues affecting delivery of care in the NHS - informed by international experts in democratic and political campaigning.


Headline Sponsor


Question & Answer Session


Coffee in the Networking Area


Local authorities have always had a role in promoting the wider determinants of public health and maintaining service provision. This session will review policies and initiatives backed by local authorities to support the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff, including:


  • Homes for NHS staff - a policy published by NHSI in June 2019 to improve access to affordable housing for staff employed within the NHS by securing an offer of first refusal on affordable homes developed on land owned or being disposed of by NHS estate owners. The policy requires that NHS estate owners work with local planning authorities and that the number of affordable homes be determined by local affordable housing requirements.
  • Parity of esteem between health and social care workforces - the distinctiveness of the NHS and social care workforces must be respected. However, in order to achieve better parity of esteem between the NHS and social care workforces, the Local Government Association recognises that greater coordination around pay and reward strategies for staff is required at all levels. 
  • Fatima Fernandes, Head of Staff Support, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (confirmed)

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been recognised by the Healthcare Peoples Management Association for its development of the LINC initiative. LINC – Listening, Informal, Non-judgemental, Confidential – is a peer support scheme that provides fundamental training in counselling skills for Trust staff that volunteer for LINC; once equipped with the skills, they are able to provide confidential listening service to colleagues.


First piloted in 2003, LINC has grown considerably; with 100+ trained staff providing peer support and more than 17% of the Trust’s staff having accessed the service. This presentation will look at the practical steps an NHS organisation can take to assist with establishing similar peer support services for their staff.

  • Andrew Mowat, Director, Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project (confirmed)

There has never been a greater need to recruit more doctors to the NHS. The number of doctors retiring or leaving the NHS in Lincolnshire outnumbers those entering it - this is reflected nationally in the decreasing number of recruits into Primary and Secondary care. The Lincolnshire Refugee Doctors Project is a humanitarian programme supporting refugee doctors in the area to safely practice medicine in the UK by equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to satisfy examinations in language and clinical skills. The LRDP has three core ambitions:

  • To recruit Refugee Doctors to Lincolnshire and to support them long-term within the community.
  • To provide them with the skills and knowledge required to satisfy examination in Language and Clinical Skills.
  • To allow them to practice safely as medical practitioners in the UK.

This presentation, given by a member of the LRDP's governance board, will take delegates through a whistle-stop tour of the LRDP programme; from introduction to the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) framework to sitting the International English Language Testing System exams whilst volunteering in clinical settings - all the way to leaving the scheme and entering full-time work in the NHS.    


Case Study


Question & Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics, Health Foundation (invited)

The Health Foundation has produced a series of publications analysing NHS England staff trends and making high-impact policy recommendations to sustain the NHS workforce. The fourth annual NHS workforce trends report (November 2019) provided a detailed analysis of long-term trends and insights into the size and composition of the NHS workforce in England. Falling Short: the NHS Workforce Challenge addresses shortages in nursing, general practice and primary care as well as looking to other pressure points like training new student nurses to deliver appropriate levels of care, retention of existing staff and the context in which international recruitment programmes are taking place. The Falling Short report concluded:

  • The NHS will need to recruit 5,000 international nurses per-annum in order to prevent increases in unfilled posts. Latest figures demonstrate just 1,600 international recruits came to the NHS in 2017/18.
  • Nursing is significantly understaffed and pressurised - the modest growth in nurses working within the NHS is outstripped by demand; with vacancies reaching reaching almost 44,000 in the first quarter of 2019/20 - equivalent to 12% of the nursing workforce. 

In collaboration with Nuffield Trust and The King's Fund, The Health Foundation published a report setting out a series of high-impact policy actions that should be at the heart of the workforce implementation plan. The report includes some of the following evidence-based recommendations:

  • The government should consider significantly increasing the financial support to nursing students by providing 'cost of living' grants of around £5,200 a year on top of the means-tested loans system.
  • The NHS should build on the NHS Constitution and provide an explicit statement of the 'universal offer' to staff; including, but not limited to: their legal rights and what staff can expect in terms of pay and opportunity, continuing professional development, work-life balance and appraisals. 
  • A fourfold increase in the current workforce development budget in order to support the continued professional development (CPD) of NHS staff.  

Speaker TBC


Case Study


Afternoon Refreshment Break


Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Director of England and Wales, Mental Health Foundation (invited)

According to research carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 6.8 people are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace and evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. As the largest public sector employer in the UK, the NHS can make a significant contribution to the nationwide cultural shift in attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

  • Mike Burke, Director, Embrace Resilience and Embrace Learning (confirmed)

Synopsis coming soon...


Question & Answer Session


Chair's Closing Remarks and Conference Close

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Luke Boulter
  • Review delivery of recommendations from the workforce implementation plan, the Health and Care Workforce Strategy for England to 2027 and the HEE Mental Wellbeing report; with the opportunity to discuss further contributions from reports amongst peers, policy makers and NHS staff.
  • Engagement with interactive diagnostic tools such as the NHS Workforce Health and Wellbeing Framework.
  • Understanding of the research and ethos that has informed the NHS’ new initiatives to safeguarding staff mental health and in doing so, improving patient safety.
  • A look at the importance of staff mental health and wellbeing in the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • Opportunities to network, knowledge-share and engage with peers and keynote speakers on preventative approaches to the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff.
  • Learn how to identify and anticipate potential MH issues as well as promoting – and leading – team dialogues around stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Assess organisations against new frameworks designed to identify room for improvement and recommend appropriate action.
  • Contact Details
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details




The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

Featured Events

  • Mental Health: Delivering Improved, Integrated and Accessible Services

    • 27 February 2014
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Contact us for venue
  • Mental Health: The Five Year Plan

    • 23 September 2015
    • 08:30 - 16:20
    • America Square Conference Centre, London
  • Mental Health: Better, Faster and Earlier Help

    • 04 March 2015
    • 08:30 - 16:45
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health: Promoting Integration and Early Intervention

    • 08 December 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Mental Health: Forward Thinking – Delivering the Strategy

    • 15 September 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:45
    • America Square Conference Centre, London
  • Mental Health: Moving Forwards – The Five Year Plan

    • 10 March 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Mental Health: Making the Forward Plans a Reality

    • 27 September 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:45
    • America Square Conference Centre, London
  • Children and Young People’s Mental Health: Taking Early Action

    • 06 July 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Royal National Hotel, London
  • Mental Health: Forward Thinking – The Implementation Plan

    • 16 March 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Children and Young People's Mental Health: Improving Care, Treatment and Support

    • 12 December 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Improving Mental Health Outcomes: Integrating, Coordinating and Transforming Services

    • 25 April 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Children and Young People's Mental Health: Providing Effective Support

    • 03 July 2018
    • 08:30 - 17:00
    • The Royal National Hotel, London
  • Meeting Mental Health Needs: Practical Interventions to Improve Services

    • 12 December 2018
    • 08:30 - 15:50
    • Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London
  • Children and Young People's Mental Health: From Early Intervention to Improved Services

    • 12 February 2019
    • 08:25 - 15:45
    • Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London
  • Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes

    • 16 May 2019
    • 10:00 - 16:05
    • Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London
  • Media & Mental Health: Delivering A Duty of Care

    • 16 June 2020
    • 09:30 - 16:10
    • Central Manchester

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
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who will attend

  • Acute and Community Mental Health Services
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Area Managers
  • Business / Service Development Managers
  • Care Co-Ordinators
  • Chief Constables
  • Chief Executives and Assistant Chief Executives
  • Clinical Commissioning Group Members
  • Chairs of NHS Trust Board
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Directors / Heads of Nursing
  • Directors / Heads of Public Health
  • Directors / Heads of Adult Social Services
  • Directors / Heads of Children’s Social Services
  • Directors / Heads of Finance
  • General Practitioners and Practice Managers
  • Heads of Commissioning
  • Heads of Service
  • Heads of Strategy
  • Heads of Supported Employment
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards and Managers
  • Housing Associations
  • Medical Directors / Officers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social Workers