The National Mental Health Workforce Development Collaborative is a voluntary group of mental health Trusts that have come together to focus on strategic mental health workforce development issues.

The Collaborative was designed in December 2016 and signed off by the seven founding Trusts in April 2017. There were seven founding Trusts, namely:

  1. Avon and Wiltshire Partnership Trust
  2. Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  3. Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
  4. Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
  5. Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  6. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  7. Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

These founding Trusts form a steering group of the Collaborative. The steering group sets the workshops agenda and any other activity.

Remaining mental health Trusts in the country were invited to join the Collaborative network in 2019. Each partner Trust brings a range of distinctive expertise in different areas of mental health practice and other areas of service delivery. Members cover a broad range of national geography including a mix of urban and rural settings. The Collaborative brings together not only all mental health Trust but also other bodies with an interest in mental health strategic workforce issues.

Reasons for collaboration

There are significant demands on mental health Trusts to work together to expand the range of services accessible to patients, while reducing costs. Through the Collaborative, members leverage its network to influence the system. The Collaborative initiatives affect education, development, workforce learning (such as apprenticeship), but also other interventions that promote staff engagement and well-being. Thus, the reasons for collaboration are:

    • To support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS Interim People Plan and the NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24.
    • To raise the profile of mental health issues at a time when the agenda can be dominated by issues of acute providers, hence supporting the parity of esteem between mental health and physical health providers
    • To support the provision of education, training and workforce development across the system in order to enhance skills of staff and provide them with greater work advancements.

The Trusts found the Collaborative as an important way of sharing intelligence and good practice on strategic mental health workforce issues. The Collaborative has also provided a helpful means of engaging with Health Education England and other national bodies e.g. Mental Health Nursing, NHS Employers, regulators, particularly CQC.

Mental Health Workshops schedule 


It was agreed that the Collaborative mental health workshop would be organised on a quarterly basis for strategic leaders. The Collaborative workshop sessions are open to all NHS Trusts in England, that provide MH services. The future forums will be connecting with other relevant groups and national bodies e.g. Mental Health Nursing, NHS Employers, regulators, particularly CQC. The meetings will be held virtually every quarter. The schedule of the Collaborative meetings for the year of 2022 is:

  • 28 February 2022– Workforce stress and the supportive organisation
  • 23 May 2022 – How to support workforce providing care to children and young people’s mental health inpatient settings?
  • 26 September 2022 – How to ensure an essential supply of AHPs? Considerations and priorities for increasing supply of AHP and delivering local workforce plans?
  • 28 November 2022 – How to grow a support workforce to meet NHS ambitions?