Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Latest News - Find out what's happening across the system to build positive workplace cultures

Make or Break: Incivility in the workplace

Incivity in the workplace can have a detrimental effect on staff and patient safety. Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust new video shows how incivility can negatively impact on staff working in the NHS and the positive benefits of active kindness. Watch the video in full. 

NHS Employers blog on pay progression, disciplinaries and the potential disproportionate impact on black and minority ethnic (BME) staff 

In this blog staff-side and management side co-chairs of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group (part of the NHS Staff Council) share insights on the importance of partnership working to ensure that the new pay progression system is implemented equitably. 

The blog discusses potential risks in the system, particularly around disciplinaries as having a formal disciplinary action live on your record is one of the reasons that pay progression can be withheld. Although there have been improvements, BME staff are still more likely than white staff to enter the formal disciplinary process. The blog highlights guidance which includes recommendations on how to close the ethnicity gap in rates of disciplinary action across the NHS workforce. Working in partnership, the group considers risks and how to ensure staff are not unfairly held back from progressing. You can read the blog here.

See the partnership case study to learn more about what Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal College of Nursing did to tackle disproportionate rates of disciplinary action amongst black and minority ethnic staff.

NHS Oversight Framework for 2019/20 - published August 2019

In the NHS Oversight Framework for 2019/20, four metrics have been added to the dataset used to identify where providers may need support. These are based on the annual NHS Staff Survey and cover bullying and harassment, teamwork and inclusivity. For more information, see the NHS Improvement website.

Professionalism and cultural transformation (PACT) toolkit

In August 2019, NHS Employers published the PACT toolkit containing practical information, advice and solutions to equip staff to deal with unprofessional attitudes and behaviours in the workplace.

To access the toolkit, see the NHS Employers website.

How doctors in senior leadership roles establish and maintain a positive patient-centred culture

The General Medical Council (GMC) published the research report How doctors in senior leadership roles establish and maintain a positive patient-centred culture to gain insight into the experiences and challenges faced by senior doctors in leadership roles.

The report features methods used by senior medical leaders to build or sustain positive cultures, including:

  • use of quantitative, qualitive and soft signals to identify workplace cultures in an organisation
  • investing time in building relationships and the importance of their everyday conversations
  • promoting collaborative problem solving, assigning responsibility for outcomes and providing supportive coaching
  • consistently role modelling expectations in both their clinical and managerial practice 
  • managing performance, responding to serious incidents and supporting doctors in difficulty
  • intervening in sub-cultures – contributors to the report recognised this would be challenging, time-consuming and require continuing attention
  • ensuring clinicians and general managers understand each other as they tend to use a different lexicon…for talking about the same thing sometimes.

Read the findings on the GMC website.

Consultation on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The Government and Equalities Office consultation sought to gather evidence on whether current laws to protect people from sexual harassment in the workforce are effective. The consultation requested staff who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, or people who have supported staff who have experienced sexual harassment, to respond to an online questionnaire. Employers were asked to respond to questions in the Technical consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The deadline to respond was 2 October 2019 and the consultation is now closed.

Just and learning culture - a new way of caring 

A free online resource to help build a just and learning organisational culture was published in July 2019. This was produced by Mersey Care and is available on their website. Read more about the work at Mersey Care on our case study web page  

SPF call to action review report published

In July 2019, Creating a culture of civility, compassion and respect was published. This report sets out the activity carried out by the SPF and partner organisations since the launch of the call to action and SPF priorities for year three. These include:

  • continuing to encourage and support employers and trade unions to work in partnership to build positive workplace cultures
  • linking with NHS England and NHS Improvement in the initiatives they are progressing to tackle bullying in the NHS and make the NHS the best place to work
  • focusing on improving the experience at work for disabled, BAME and LGBT staff
  • addressing sexual harassment.    

Financial cost of bullying calculator launched

A tool to help NHS leaders calculate the financial cost of bullying in their organisation is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement, addressing bullying and harassment, Kahootz online platform. To gain access to the Kahootz platform, please send a request to: 

UK tackling bullying alliance launched  

Over twenty organisations, along with the SPF, form an alliance against bullying, undermining and harassment in the NHS. Their aim is to ensure all health and care staff are treated with dignity and compassion in the workplace. A document including details of each member of the alliance and information about useful online resources was launched at an event at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on 4 April 2019. An updated version of the document which includes new members of the alliance was made available in October 2019.

Webinars: creating positive workplace cultures

As part of the ongoing programme of work, the SPF has hosted a series of three webinars. The first in June 2018 looked at the role of line management in tackling bullying. The second was held in September 2018 and covered raising awareness of the impact of bullying on patient experience. The final webinar was held on the 29 January 2019 and focused on connecting the work going on across the NHS on supporting healthy workplace cultures. 

Partner events

Collective leadership to address bullying and harassment in the NHS workplace

On 28 March 2019, NHS Improvement ran an event looking at how leadership can prevent and address bullying and harassment. Presentations from the event, including keynote speakers: Michael West, Lancaster University and the King’s Fund, Amanda Oates, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Caroline Corrigan, NHS Improvement are available on the NHS Improvement and NHS England's Kahootz platform.

An improving working lives: tackling bullying and harassment toolkit, will be added to the Kahootz platform. The toolkit will enable trusts to diagnose issues, take action and evaluate the impact of those actions. It will provide employers with a range of interventions, so they can choose the actions they believe will have the most impact.

To gain access to the Kahootz platform, please send a request to:

The BMA hosted a bullying and harassment: how to address it and create a supportive and inclusive culture event on 1 November 2018. For more information, see the BMA website.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), hosted a national anti-bullying symposium on 24 September 2018. For more information see the RCSEd website.