Mental health network


Blue question marks

Project objectives

Commissioned by NHS Employers, supported by Health Education England and delivered by the Mental Health Network, this project will:
  • primarily focus on exploring and articulating the views of employers and leaders of NHS funded mental health service providers in respect of future workforce needs. This is about enabling the current workforce to be fit for purpose and contributing to shaping a future workforce.
  • establish a collaborative but independent national leadership voice on workforce issues. 
  • take account of advice from those who use mental health services and professionals working in the service.
  • focus on both what the services and those who use the services need from the current workforce as well as commenting on the education of a future workforce. 
  • consider the workforce implications associated with delivering parity of esteem between mental and physical health.
  • take account of a shifting provider landscape, the integration agenda, new models of working and the requirement for ever greater efficiency. 

Project outline

Our Mental Health Workforce Project will consider the future of the mental health workforce within the new structure and responsibilities being bedded in across the sector. 

The National Mental Health Workforce Reference group will consider a number of points, including but not limited to:

  • how to ensure the workforce of tomorrow is appropriately trained, developed and assessed to meet the expectations of the population it serves. 
  • the changing needs and expectations of the population; a growing proportion of older people, frequent users of e-technology to access information and book services, the assumption of a 24/7 NHS service, support to achieve personal recovery goals and individual choice in which service to access. 
  • what extent the proposed tariff system is aligned and compatible with the changing profile of the workforce. 
  • how the regulation and monitoring systems support and monitor improvements in the workforce.

Strategic Partners

HEE's Mental Health Workforce Advisory Group, co-chaired by Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network, is a key strategic partner in this work and through engagement with the HEEAG we will seek to coordinate our activities and advice. 

The project team will be mindful of groups established with a remit around mental health workforce coordinated by NHS England such as the Mental Health Taskforce (NHS England), the Workforce Advisory Board chaired by Ian Cumming (HEE), Department of Health groups and workstreams. Links will be established to strengthen this project and avoid duplication, as appropriate. 

Initiation Phase

The Mental Health Network will look to its members to inform and gather views on the issues outlined above. In addition, to enable delivery of the project, we have appointed Sandra Knight, Director of Human Resources & Organisation Development at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust to the Expert HR Advisory position to provide leadership to this national project. 

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