National Mental Health Workforce Development Collaborative (NMHWC)

The National Mental Health Workforce Development Collaborative is a virtual centre of excellence around mental health education, training and workforce transformation.

Visit the NMHWDC website:

The Collaborative is a voluntary group of trusts in England that provide mental health services. The Collaborative started in 2016. 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 trusts but also other bodies with an interest in mental health strategic workforce issues.

Hands in centre of table – NMHWDC

Why do we collaborate?

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 apprenticeships), but also other interventions that promote staff engagement and wellbeing. 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 Collaborative catalyses its network to provide a two-way communication and engagement resource. Through its network, the Collaborative can have a greater pool of resources from various organisations to collaborate around a shared vision for NHS workforce. Furthermore, the Collaborative receives the Health Education England Mental Health Delivery Group’s workforce workplan and engages with its development and delivery at service level in line with the Trusts’ priorities.

What are our aims?

The Collaborative is the non-hierarchical network. It enables the mental health trusts to work across organisational and geographical boundaries to:

  • Provide a “go to” voice for Health Education England and other national bodies on strategic mental health workforce issues
  • Enable exchange of information and resources to build workforce capacity
  • Provide a platform to connect and share best practice
  • Advocate for workforce-supportive policy reforms at the national level by identifying gaps and priorities.

Who attends?

The workshops are filled with representatives at Director or Executive Director level. Member organisations are invited to field up to three representatives. These representatives are from the three functional areas within Trusts: nursing, human resources / workforce and organisational development / training and education.

Representatives of national and regional key stakeholder organisations are also invited. These representatives are from Health Education England Regional Mental Health leads, Skills for Health, NHS Employers and local STP / ICO Mental Health / mental health workforce lead(s). The future forums will be connecting with relevant groups and national bodies e.g. NHS Confederation Network, mental health nursing, NHS Employers, regulators, particularly CQC.