Mental Health: Supporting NHS Workforce Resilience

  • Tuesday, 06 July 2021
  • The Studio, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 16:25
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Caring for the mental health and psychological wellbeing of the NHS' people is essential in delivering world class care and patient safety. COVID-19 thrust front line NHS staff under a spotlight; but as the applause fades, the people who make-up the NHS will be asked to carry on. 

The day-to-day challenges facing NHS workers have never been so stark. Researchers at King's College London surveyed staff in nine ICUs across England about how they coped during the pandemic - 45% of 709 respondents met the threshold for probable clinical significance for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (39%), severe anxiety (11%), problem drinking (7%) and severe depression (6%). In August, NHS Providers surveyed 140 leaders from NHS Trusts and Foundations across England, almost all (99%) said they were extremely or moderately concerned by the current level of burnout across the workforce. The Doctor's Association UK undertook a poll of 1,758 doctors across the UK, when asked where they saw themselves working in the next one-to-three years, 65% (1,143) of respondents said they would be leaving the NHS; 45% cited the impact of the pandemic on their mental health as a driving factor in their considerations.   

This conference programme will provide delegates the following benefits of attending

  • 10 CPD Points.
  • Explore innovative recommendations to support and improve the psychological wellbeing of NHS staff.
  • Engage with workforce-lead peer support schemes providing fundamental training in mental health counselling for NHS staff, equipping them with the skills to provide confidential listening services to colleagues; as well as exploring the model used to establish 40 new NHS staff mental health hubs across England and programmes filling vacancies within the NHS by re-training refugee doctors to safely practice medicine in the UK - teaching the skills and knowledge required to satisfy examinations in language and clinical skills.
  • Learn about effective means of supporting NHS staff post-pandemic; what can be learnt from studies of the mental wellbeing of healthcare workers subsequent to, for example, outbreaks of SARS in Asia? As well as exploring what can be learnt from military treatments for traumatic stress and adapted to support frontline healthcare workers?     
  • Identify opportunities to overcome internal barriers preventing supportive, empowering environments when care does not go as expected. 
  • Learn more about policies developed to improve conditions for NHS staff, including recommendations as to how NHS organisations can close gaps in workplace inequalities; initiatives designed to ease 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 the NHS estate - as well as a new roadmap strategy overhauling the working environments and patterns of staff.
  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Event Programme


Registration in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

  • Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive, Mersey Care NHS Trust (confirmed)
"A Just and Learning Culture"

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. 
"Improving Access to Emotional and Mental Health Support for NHS Staff"

This presentation will be delivered by Kirsty Brewerton, formerly a band 5 staff nurse at a busy NHS accident and emergency department. Kirsty left her role due to the emotional and mental health pressures compounded by staffing shortages in the NHS and will be discussing the experience; sharing her perspective on what can be done to improve access to mental health support for NHS staff.


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

  • Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long Term) Centre, The Health Foundation (confirmed)
"Falling Short: the NHS Workforce Challenge"

The Health Foundation has produced a series of publications analysing NHS England staff trends and making 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 England workforce. 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 political context in which international recruitment programmes are taking place. The report concluded that 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.


This presentation will look at a series of high-impact policy actions that could be at the heart of a workforce implementation plan, including:

  • 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. 
  • Expanding current workforce development budgets in order to support the continued professional development (CPD) of NHS staff. 
"Local Authority Initiatives Supporting NHS Staff"

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. 

Case Study

  • Fatima Fernandes, Head of Staff Support, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (confirmed)
"LINC - Listening, Informal, Non-judgemental, Confidential"

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the sickness absence rate among NHS staff in England reached its highest level in more than a decade according to NHS Digital; psychiatric illnesses like anxiety, stress and depression were the most widely-cited reason for taking leave. The worst impacted region was London, where the sickness rate increased from 4% (the lowest of any English region) in January, to 7.2% in the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, experts warned that 9 in 10 ambulance staff had experienced stress or poor mental health; it comes as little surprise, that ambulance staff recorded the highest rate of sickness absence during the pandemic.


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.


Question & Answer Session

  • Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long Term) Centre, The Health Foundation (confirmed)
  • Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Oldham Council (confirmed)
  • Fatima Fernandes, Head of Staff Support, London Ambulance Service NHS Trust (confirmed)


We'll be working with venues to ensure lunch at our events is as delicious as ever and caters for a range of dietary preferences - whilst being served in a safe and seamless manner. Some of the new measures we will be introducing to this effect are:

  • One-way queuing systems with safe distancing in operation.
  • Individual snacking bags containing fruit, trail mix and sweets provided on arrival - this will prevent people mixing around snack bars during networking breaks.
  • Individually portioned dishes and pre-sealed cutlery will be served at collection points.  

Where possible, we will request food is sourced locally to reduce food miles, use seasonal vegetables, red tractor certified meat and eggs from free range hens.


Chair's Afternoon Address


Representative from the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub (invited)

"NHS Mental Health Hubs"

The NHS is setting up 40 new mental health hubs for its staff across England who have struggled during the pandemic. NHS personnel will be able to receive advice and be referred for support from psychologists, mental health nurses and recovery workers. Frontline staff will be encouraged to engage with the service(s) and hubs will proactively reach-out to staff deemed to be in the highest risk groups i.e. those who work in intensive care, on Covid wards and in A&E.


40 hubs will open providing one-to-one and online support, including services in London, Lancashire and Bedfordshire - modelled on the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub; established to help NHS staff who treated victims and survivors of the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017. The GM Hub has helped more than 4,000 health and social care staff since it's establishment (including during the pandemic) and this presentation will explore transferrable benefits from the GM model that can be adapted to support staff through the national NHS mental health hub initiatives.


Case Study

This slot is reserved for organisations looking to engage delegates with services and opportunities that compliment conference presentation and discussion panel topics. If you're interested in delivering a Case Study, contact us on 0161 376 9007.

"Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project "

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 Doctor 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 will take delegates through 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.    


Question & Answer Session

Representative from the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub (invited)

Representative from Lincolnshire Refugee Doctor Project (confirmed)  

Case Study Speaker TBA


Afternoon Refreshment Break

  • Liam Barnes, Founder, The Laura Hyde Foundation (confirmed)

The Laura Hyde Foundation (LHF) was established in response to the tragic passing of a young naval nurse, Laura Hyde, who suffered with mental health issues whilst providing care and support for others. The Foundation's Mission Statement is: To ensure that all medical and emergency services personnel have access to the best mental health support network available. The LHF has set-out a series of actionable pledges to build and develop focused, relevant mental health support networks for those working in emergency services. This presentation will explore LHF initiatives, such as:

  • Funding and oversight of a wellbeing programme for medical students at 14 separate universities in the Midlands and South West; providing our future doctors and nurses with access to self-help techniques for coping with trauma exposure, resilience training and modular teaching by charity-funded staff.
  • Developing clinical whitepapers and self-help material in-unison with the LHF's charity-funded clinical leads covering self-help which will be linked in to employee handbooks.
  • Working with local NHS Trusts to develop and manage a free-to-use online forum for NHS staff, providing a secure space to share experiences; building a community where NHS staff can seek and access support.
  • Funding wellbeing initiatives such as art and pet therapy sessions - providing opportunities to engage with stress-relieving programmes.          
"Giving a Voice to Those Bereaved by Suicide and Those Responsible for Their Care"

Sharon McDonnell is the Managing Director of Suicide Bereavement UK (SBUK) and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester (UoM). Her work is internationally recognised. Prior to setting up SBUK, Sharon worked at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at the UoM, which is the largest suicide prevention research department internationally.  During her time at the university, Sharon and her team conducted a three year study, which informed the development of evidence-based suicide bereavement training, entitled ‘Postvention Assisting Those Bereaved by Suicide’ (PABBS), which is first of its kind internationally. Sharon is currently leading a large scale national suicide bereavement survey, which aims to identify the experiences and perceived needs of those bereaved or affected by suicide. A report will be launched in 2020.  Findings will be of national and international importance. Sharon has been personally bereaved by suicide.


Question & Answer Session

Liam Barnes, Founder, The Laura Hyde Foundation (confirmed)

Dr Sharon McDonnell, Managing Director, Suicide Bereavement UK (confirmed)


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

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Luke Boulter
  • Gain 10 CPD Points.
  • 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 among peers, policy makers and NHS staff.
  • Learn more about workforce-lead peer support schemes, humanitarian projects and democratic groups supporting the NHS workforce; equipping NHS staff with fundamental counselling skills, training refugee doctors to safely practice medicine in the UK and strengthening the interaction between doctors, representative bodies and issues affecting delivery of care.
  • Explore initiatives and recommendations to promote openness, transparency and the development of environments where staff feel supported and empowered to learn from situations where care has not gone as expected, to accelerate the rate of care improvement.
  • Understand the research and ethos that has informed the NHS’ new initiatives to safeguarding staff mental health and in doing so, improve patient safety.
  • Network and knowledge-share.
  • Discuss policy initiatives developed to improve conditions for the NHS workforce, including the Workforce Race Equality Standard, making recommendations as to how NHS organisations can close gaps in workplace inequalities; and Homes for NHS Staff – designed to ease 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 the NHS estate.
  • Learn how to identify and anticipate potential MH issues as well as promoting – and leading – team dialogues around stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Assess organisation best-practice 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 Studio, Manchester

The Studio, Manchester

Situated in the heart of Manchester's iconic Northern Quarter and just a couple of minutes walk away from the city's major transport links; The Studio is a spacious, contemporary meeting centre atop The Hive building on Lever St.     

Whatever the legendary Manchester weather has to throw at you, you’ll always find the warmest of welcomes at The Studio.

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

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.

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