Staff Experience in the NHS: routes to retention

Our annual virtual conference explored how a positive staff experience is crucial to retention and a renewed priority for workforce leaders.

General information

5 December 2023 08:30 - 16:30 GMT
Open to all


  • Danny Mortimer
    Danny Mortimer
    Chief Executive NHS Employers
  • Headshot of Navina Evans
    Dr Navina Evans CBE External link icon
    Chief Workforce, Training and Education Officer NHS England
  • Headshot of Sajeda Ahmed
    Shajeda Ahmed External link icon
    Chief People Officer Black Country ICB
  • Headshot of John Walsh
    John Walsh External link icon
    Organisational Development and Improvement Lead Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Headshot of Jacqui Dyer
    Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE External link icon
    Honorary Fellow and independent health and social care consultant King's College London
  • Headshot of Becky Cox
    Dr Becky Cox External link icon
    GP Specialist in Gynaecology and Co-founder Surviving in Scrubs
  • Headshot of Chelcie Jewitt
    Dr Chelcie Jewitt External link icon
    ACCS Emergency Medicine Trainee and Co-founder Surviving in Scrubs
  • Headshot of Jamie Deighton
    Jamie Deighton External link icon
    Specialist practitioner in leadership and organisational development Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Headshot of Rosalind Searle
    Rosalind Searle External link icon
    Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology University of Glasgow
  • Headshot of Kate Jarman
    Kate Jarman External link icon
    Co-founder, Flex NHS and Director of Corporate Affairs Milton Keynes University Hospital Trust
Retention of our NHS people - and everything we do to support this - remains a top priority for employers and a key ambition of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

Our full-day, virtual conference explored why creating a positive experience for our NHS people is central to improving staff retention and to delivering quality patient care.

We delved into what good work looks like, how to better support employees, and the practical measures employers can take to help staff remain and thrive in the NHS.

We also looked at the key role NHS leaders have to play in ensuring staff experience is at the forefront of their strategic priorities and everyday practice.  

Conference agenda

Our agenda and speaker line up featured a varied programme of engaging and interactive sessions, including: 

  • keynote speakers on our virtual main stage
  • masterclass session from trusts leading great work in our field
  • selection of speaker-led workshops, with opportunities for networking and sharing good practice
  • 'in conversation' with NHS England Chief Workforce Officer Dr Navina Evans and our own CEO Danny Mortimer, and much more.

You can explore all the sessions and themes covered below.

Explore the agenda:

  • 09.00 - 09.30  Chair's welcome 

    • Jennifer Gardner, Assistant Director, NHS Employers 

    09:30 - 10:15  Freedom to speak up: nurturing a psychologically safe workplace in the NHS  

    • Katherine Bradshaw Chart.PR, National Lead for Communications and Engagement, National Guardians Office  
    • John Walsh, OD Lead and Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

    This session will focus on the importance of a healthy speaking up culture in aiding NHS staff retention. Katherine will outline why freedom to speak up is everybody's business and how staff experience practitioners can drive change to facilitate a speak up, listen up and follow up culture within teams. John will then offer provide practical strategies on how to nurture a psychologically safe environment for colleagues and the wider organisation. 

    10:15 - 11:30  Staff experience in the NHS: routes to retention

    • Caroline Waterfield, Director of Development and Employment, NHS Employers
    • Dr Ronke Akerele, Director of Culture and Transformation, NHS England  

    Our keynote session will discuss how a positive staff experience is central to retention and delivering quality patient care. Our speakers will reflect on the importance of putting staff experience at the forefront of strategic priorities and how to bring the NHS People Promise to life. Delegates will be invited to join the discussion to help explore what good work looks like and practical measures you can take to help your staff remain and thrive in the NHS.

  • 11:45 - 12:30  Driving improvement in NHS staff experience: trusts and systems in action

    • Catherine Smith, People Promise Manager - Staff Experience and Retention, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
    • Shajeda Ahmed, Chief People Officer, Black Country Integrated Care Board  

    In this masterclass session we'll hear from two NHS organisations which have sustained improvements in their NHS Staff Survey results across the staff experience agenda. Catherine will outline her trust's focus on implementing flexible working and the positive culture change this has created. While Shajeda will talk about 'Be Well Midlands' - an innovative systems approach to driving improvements across all elements of the NHS People Promise.

  • 13:15 - 13:30  Optional energiser: Being your authentic self

    • Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, Honorary Fellow, Kings College London and independent health and social care consultant

    Hear Dr Jacqui's insights on the transformative power of being your authentic self and its impact on mental health, wellbeing and resilience, and learn practical strategies for recovering from setbacks and challenges as you work to support your staff. Dr Jacqui is President of the Mental Health Foundation and famously featured in 'The Me You Can’t See' AppleTV Series with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

  • 13:30 - 14:15  Attendees can choose one of five interactive workshops:

    Getting the basics of wellbeing right

    • Kate Jarman, Director of Corporate Affairs, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust 

    This session will explore staff welfare and ensuring the basics of wellbeing are in place so staff can feel physically and psychologically safe. Kate will talk about the importance of meeting those needs and how to best influence workplace infrastructure and conditions.

    Boosting the effectiveness of your teams by enhancing teamworking

    • Jamie Dayton, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 
    • Lisa O Keath, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust   

    Jamie and Lisa will share how Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust has implemented the DoOD toolkit in their organisation, they'll share their journey, highlighting what worked well, what may not have worked and the impact it's had on improving team working and effectiveness.

    A data-led approach to improving staff experience and staff engagement

    • Robert Fordham, Head of Staff Experience, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust    

    Learn how to use local-level data to better understand and improve staff experience and staff engagement in your organisation. This sessions will also look the link between staff experience and retention, identifying how to make effective use of key data to reduce turnover.  

    Getting your board on-board with staff experience

    • Caroline Haynes, Chief People Officer, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

    During this session Caroline will be sharing all expertise about board buy in for the staff experience agenda, how to gain it and how to maintain it. She'll share the practical steps you can take and the benefits you can gain from board buy in, alongside her top tips.

    Making retention happen – from aspiration to action  

    • Karon Hart, Deputy Director HR; Workforce and Wellbeing, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust 

    Hear how Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust made improvements across its whole staff experience offer to better support the retention of its workforce. Karon will share how her team achieved these improvements and how they plan to continue this work in the future.  

  • 14:30 - 15:10  Improving sexism, misogyny and sexual safety in the NHS

    • Dr Becky Cox and Dr Chelcie Jewitt, Co-Founders of Surviving in Scrubs
    • Rosalind Searle, Professor in Human Resource Management and Organisational Psychology, University of Glasgow
    • Damian McGuinness, Chief People Officer, The London Ambulance Service
    • Caroline Waterfield, Director of Development and Employment, NHS Employers 

    It is vital that women and all healthcare staff are able to work in environments where they are physically and psychologically safe. Dr Becky and Dr Chelcie will share lived experience of these issues, and how you can get involved in their national campaign advocating for change in health and care. Prof Rosalind will outline latest evidence highlighting the impact of sexual misconduct, while Damian will share his trust's journey to take positive action against this issue.

  • 15:30 - 16:15  The future of Retention in the NHS - what does the Long Term Workplace Plan ask of staff experience practitioners?

    • Dr Navina Evans, Chief Workforce Officer, NHS England 
    • Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers  

    Retention of our NHS people and everything we do to support this remains a top priority for employers and a key ambition of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. In an 'in conversation' format, Navina and Danny will discuss how staff experience practitioners can work together to realise the ambitions within the plan, thinking about what the future of retention looks like in the NHS, alongside potential opportunities and challenges on the horizon.

    16:15 - 16:30  Closing remarks from Chair

    • Jennifer Gardner, Assistant Director, NHS Employers 

Hear more from our CEO, Danny Mortimer

  • This free event is open to anyone working in NHS provider organisations or integrated care systems who support or have an interest in staff experience. 

    Those not working in the NHS will be put on a waiting list and unfortunately cannot be guaranteed a place. 

    This virtual, full-day event will be hosted by the online conference platform Airmeet. Joining instructions will be sent to registered attendees ahead of the day.

CPD Certification

CPD Certified

We are pleased to confirm this event is CPD certified.

By attending our conference you can earn points that contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD). For every hour you attend, you will earn one point.

Following the event you can request your certification by completing this form. The deadline is Friday 15 December 2023. Once completed, the team at CPD should process your request within 28 days.