Promoting partnership working in the NHS

London SPF Health and Wellbeing subgroup

The London Social Partnership Forum (SPF) health and wellbeing subgroup was established over nine years ago. It is chaired by Dr Andrew Barton, British Medical Association (BMA) and co-ordinated by Janine Prever, NHS Employers who work together to organise meetings and share information

The challenge

The London SPF identified that there was no group or mechanism in place for NHS organisations in London to share information on improving the health and wellbeing of staff. They felt it would be beneficial for a group to be set up to focus exclusively on finding partnership solutions to health and wellbeing issues.

The aim

The purpose of the subgroup is to improve staff health and wellbeing services in NHS organisations in London by promoting and sharing best practice, strategies and tools, raising the profile and importance of staff health and wellbeing and scoping out the availability of data to measure the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives.


The subgroup includes health and wellbeing leads with representation from HR, occupational health, trade unions, arm’s length bodies and subject matter experts. The subgroup is constantly looking at ways to improve engagement and has trialled a network platform/virtual sharing group. The outcome of the trial was that members prefer face to face meetings.

The lively and engaged group meets quarterly at either NHS Employers London office or at a London trust with members keeping in regular contact in between meetings. The work of the subgroup is fed back by the chair at the London Regional SPF quarterly meetings where the subgroup is often tasked to take forward specific projects on behalf of the regional forum.

During the past year the subgroup has engaged in the following topics:

Good practice continues to be shared, with collaboration between trusts improving as a direct result of the subgroup - particularly around menopause, sleep deprivation, physical activity providers, addressing bullying, using staff survey results and financial wellbeing for staff.

The subgroup has strong links with the London Mayor’s office and the Healthy London Partnership and was successful in increasing the number of trusts signing up to the London Healthy Workforce Charter. The London Healthy Workplace Charter provides a framework for action to help employers build good practice in health and work in their organisation. The charter supports all types of employers, large and small, from public, private and voluntary sectors. Using the self-assessment framework organisations can find out if what they are already doing fits into the ethos of the charter as well as where they might need to improve. The framework reflects best practice and is endorsed nationally by Public Health England.

The subgroup is now looking at supporting the Good Work Standard which encompasses the charter. The Good Work Standard sets a benchmark which the Mayor wants every London employer to work towards and achieve. Organisations able to meet the Good Work Standard criteria can apply for accreditation and recognition as leading employers from the Mayor.

Feedback from members

“This group is an excellent opportunity for management, the unions and H&WB leads to get together to share. It is a vibrant and positive group and I am proud to be involved with it as the chair. We all know that if you look after the staff they will look after the users of the NHS in a positive way so health and wellbeing of staff is so important. BMA London supports this initiative and any other that helps in this area of work.”

Dr Andrew Barton – British Medical Association and Chair of the Subgroup

“I have found being a member of the group really helpful and supportive. It has been a great forum for thinking up new ideas and discussing and reflecting on new initiatives. A member of the group shared a booklet called Fit in 50 seconds which l quickly followed up on and purchased 100 copies for our health and wellbeing ambassadors. The booklet has made a big difference to our ambassadors as they are now informed and empowered to share information and lead activities with staff”

Sue Merchant – North East London Foundation Trust

“Being linked into other trusts via the health and wellbeing subgroup is reassuring and rewarding. Many of the staff benefits that Central and North West London NHS FT has introduced have been shared with us by members of the group over the last few years. The group enables us to share best practice often saving valuable resources by not having to re-invent the wheel. A recent example of this was in relation to wellbeing intranet development ideas”

Julie Pearson, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

“I really do find these meetings so helpful. It is so brilliant to meet others in the health and wellbeing sector and to get inspired and encouraged”

Lauren Castledine-Wolfe, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Top tips

  • Always work in partnership to set up subgroups.
  • Ensure good practice is shared across the group.
  • Allow time to discuss challenges and collaborative solutions.

 For more information and to join the group

Contact: Janine Prever,