Adapt, innovate, lead: improving staff experience across the NHS

Join our staff experience conference to hear from thought leaders and NHS organisations as they share their approaches to improving staff experience.
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General information

1 December 2021 09:30 - 16:00 GMT
Open to all


Join us for our second virtual conference on Wednesday 1 December 2021, which brings together NHS professionals who support staff experience and are responsible for bringing the NHS People Promise to life. Whether you work in health and wellbeing, staff engagement, organisational development or any other relevant HR role within NHS provider organisations, this event will help you to support the improvement of staff experience across the NHS.

Our themes: innovate, adapt and lead

  • Our conference will explore how the NHS has adapted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by embedding new ways of working to ensure our NHS people are recognised, supported and valued at work. We will also explore how the NHS can navigate future challenges and opportunities.
  • Despite the tremendous pressure on NHS trusts, we have seen innovation, transformational change and improvements to enhance the experience of staff. Our event will showcase and celebrate those NHS organisations that have innovated during this time and share learning to strengthen local approaches to inform future practice.
  • Our aim is to provide you with new ideas, tools and strategies that will help you lead culture change as you support your people and work to bring the NHS People Promise to life within your organisations. 


For the full agenda, please see below.


This event is free to NHS provider organisations. Book your place now.


Please note this conference is intended for NHS provider organisations only, for those working in the following areas:

  • health and wellbeing
  • staff engagement
  • organisational development
  • any other relevant HR role

We look forward to seeing you there. Register now to secure your free place.

For booking queries, please contact

Resources from the first staff experience conference

If you weren't able to attend the first staff experience conference, this web page provides information and resources from our Regroup, reflect, recharge: Enhancing staff experience in the NHS conference which took place on 10 March 2021.

Supporter and exhibition opportunities

Supporter and exhibition opportunities are available for this event. To see how you can get involved please download the 2021 partnership brochure or email to find out more.


  • We are pleased to reveal our full agenda for the day:




    08:30 - 9:00

    Breakfast session - Celebrating and investing in our first line leaders - the power of great storytelling

    In this breakfast session, Amy Passey and Tim Robson will tell the story of how they created Building Healthier Teams, a breakthrough engagement programme for over 2000 first line managers across the University Hospitals Birmingham. Join Tim and Amy to hear about the critical importance of junior managers in any large organisation and how engaging, developing and investing in their personal working experience is simply too important to ignore.

    Amy Passey, assistant director of engagement, University Hospitals Birmingham NS Foundation Trust

    Tim Robson, managing director at NSU Media

      Conference Starts  
    09:30 - 10:00

    Chair welcome 

    Jen will explore this year’s theme ‘Adapt Innovate and lead’ and what this means for those who are working to support the experience of our NHS people. Jen will also be joined by Debbie Lamkin, an ICU nurse at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, as she shares a deeply personal and moving reflection about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on her experience at work.

    Jennifer Gardner, Assistant Director, NHS Employers

    Debbie Lamkin, Staff Nurse, Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    10:00 - 10:05


    10:05 - 10:45

    In conversation with Danny Mortimer and Prerana Issar

    Hear from Prerana Issar and Danny Mortimer as they draw on their collective expertise and experience in leading national support for the NHS workforce. Prerana and Danny will talk about the importance of putting our NHS people first and enabling a better experience at work. They will reflect on key challenges affecting the NHS workforce, including the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and explore the steps that we can take to compassionately support our NHS people as we work to facilitate conditions for recovery and restoration.

    Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer of NHS England and NHS Improvement

    Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive NHS Employers


    10:45 - 11:00 Break  
    11:00 - 11:40

    From surviving to thriving - lessons from improving NHS trusts

    Despite the challenging circumstances posed by COVID-19, hear from Maggie Oldham, chief executive of Isle of Wight NHS trust to learn how her organisation has enhanced their leadership approach and facilitated culture change to support their staff over the past year. Find out how they intend to sustain progress and meet current and future challenges.

    Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive of Isle of Wight NHS Trust

    11:40 - 11:45 Break  
    11:45 - 12:15

    Putting compassionate leadership into practice in the NHS

    We are delighted to be joined by Professor Michael West who will explore how the principles of compassionate leadership can be put into practice to support our NHS people. Professor West will give some reflections on how compassionate leadership can help to address current challenges and support a new approach post COVID.

    Professor Michael West, Senior Visiting Fellow at The King’s Fund

    12:15 - 13:00 Lunch, exhibition & networking   
    13:00 - 13:20

    NHS choir performance 

    Placing wellbeing at the very heart of our staff experience conference, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust choir will deliver an upbeat performance to help you feel energised, uplifted and enthusiastic for the afternoon sessions.

    Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir
    13:20 - 14:05

    Breakout sessions - round 1

    Over the course of the event, there will be six breakout sessions based on the NHS People Promise themes. Delegates will get the opportunity to attend two of the six sessions, which will be interactive and trust led. 

      Option 1 -  Flexible working in the NHS - navigating changes and challenges

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise ‘we work flexibly’.

    Kate Jarman, Co-founder of @FlexNHS

    Helga Pile, Deputy head of health at Unison

      Option 2 - Rewarding our NHS People

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise ‘we are recognised and rewarded’.

    Robert Simcox, Deputy Director of People at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Olivia Farley, Senior Programme Support Officer at NHS Employers 

    Zoe Dunning, Programme Manager for Reward at NHS Employers

      Option 3 - 'Reflect, Reset and Refresh' at Swansea Bay University Health Board

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise ‘we are safe and healthy’.

    Andrea Bradley, Corporate Matron Recruitment at Swansea Bay University Health Board

    Miranda Williams, Lead Nurse education at Swansea Bay University Health Board

      Option 4 - Placing diversity and inclusion at the centre of culture transformation

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise ‘we are compassionate and inclusive’.

    Ricky Somal, Deputy Director of Organisational Development and Inclusion at Isle of Wight NHS Trust
      Option 5 - Heard it through the grapevine - developments in seeking staff feedback*

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise 'we each have a voice that counts'.

    Zoe Evans, Head of Staff Experience and Staff Engagement at NHS England and NHS Improvement

    Steven Weeks, Staff Engagement Lead, NHS Employers

      Option 6 - Joining the dots - how the People Promise supports improved staff experience

    This session will look at the overall approach to staff experience in the NHS, which will examine how the People Promise Framework can support improvement.

    John Drew, Director of staff experience and engagement, NHS England and NHS Improvement

    Jennifer Gardner, Assistant Director, NHS Employers

    14:05 - 14:20 Break   
    14:20 - 15:05

    Breakout sessions round 2 

    Please note: The breakout sessions detailed above will be repeated, aside from option 5.

    Option 5 - Ear to the ground - making effective use of staff feedback at local level

    This session will support employers to deliver the NHS People Promise 'we each have a voice that counts’

    Annie Laverty, Chief Experience Officer at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

    Steven Weeks, Staff Engagement Lead, NHS Employers

    15:05 - 15:15 Break   
    15:15 - 15:55

    Inclusive leadership: helping to bring the ambitions of the NHS People Promise to life 

    We are delighted to be joined by Lord Victor Adebowale, chairman of the NHS Confederation, who will share his views on why diversity of thought, inclusivity and leadership is vital as we all work to improve the experience of our NHS people. Victor will share his thoughts and practical considerations on the importance of inclusive leadership and discuss the wellbeing guardian role, including how this role can be used to sustain momentum around the wellbeing agenda and the importance of ensuring we hold leaders at board level to account.

    Lord Victor Adebowale, Chairman of NHS Confederation

    16:00  Conference close   
  • Delegates attending the event can claim up to six hours of CPD learning.    

    CPD Certified