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Growing an NHS staff wellbeing network (started with mid-career GPs)

We all need psychologically safe spaces to connect & be heard in order to support our mental-wellbeing. Research on patient safety shows correlation between poor staff wellbeing and worse patient safety.

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  • Proposal
  • 2020

Meet the team


  • Sarah McSorley
  • Mike Chitty
  • Vanessa Garrity
  • Gaynor Connor
  • Jo Leather
  • Penny Allison

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

The GenXGP network was set up as a collaboration between system partners from the Leadership Academy, GPs (Confederation, LMC, RCGP) & Commissioners in Leeds as a safe listening space connecting Leeds GPs to the evidence based wellbeing interventions offered by the NHS People Plan as well as local peer groups for social connection and coaching. Our philosophy is for others to “thrive not just survive.”

We have had three events which have had very positive feedback, requests for more events and our network membership has increased to 98.

Network members have fed back that they felt heard, that they either learnt something or had shared information with the group (testimonials on website)

We have had interest from both other professions and other areas to join the network & requests to help  set up similar networks.

We would like to share & grow our network to support the mental wellbeing & development of all NHS staff.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Aim statement: Expansion of the GenXGP network into a collaborative NHS staff mental wellbeing network aims to create a culture of inclusion and embrace diversity.  The staff wellbeing network will demonstrate the evidence from the NHS People Plan which states that: (1) patient populations who are represented in staff groups  have better health outcomes and therefore reduce health inequalities and (2)  better patient outcomes for all are demonstrated when staff feel valued and more included.

Objectives: members of the network will have opportunities for connection to peer support, coaching or mentoring opportunities and staff wellbeing offers.  This will lead to improved staff wellbeing, feeling valued and connected.

Evaluation: Qualitative outcomes will be evaluated quantitatively using Professional Quality of life (ProQOL) tool, including for BAME networks & those working on WRES. The project will also develop an evaluation to link patient outcomes to staff wellbeing through using the results from significant event analyses.

How will the project be delivered?

We co-create each of our events with members using open space and use liberating structures to facilitate creative conversations and networking. There is no fixed agenda. Whoever turns up are the right people and whatever the group wants to discuss is the right agenda.

Our diverse project team is made up of improvement & leadership coaches, doctors with skills in education and a mental health nurse, connections to other networks and organisations in the system.

We have converted from face to face to virtual sessions using the Zoom platform during the pandemic. We plan to upgrade to the professional zoom platform, which works better for small group work using liberating structures. We plan to have a separate breakout wobble room facilitated by our mental health nurse for anyone who is needing a bit of extra support.

Development of a software platform to connect other staff wellbeing networks to enable sharing & collaboration

How is your project going to share learning?

Our ambition is to connect and grow with other networks to build the momentum towards achieving the tipping point required to achieve improved staff wellbeing in the NHS and with it, improved patient outcomes. This will support the NHS People Plan promise to make the NHS the best place to work – objective 6 (supporting our people for the long term).

We will use the evidence base from social movement & systems theories & skills form the Q networking weaving series to develop how we utilise existing connections with other networks (Q, Primary Care Improvers, Ready Now leadership network for BAME staff, Source4Networks,  Personalised care, Mental health, I&D and RCGP) to reach out and share our learning.

The network already shares information through its website & social media presence. We would like to develop a software platform to connect to other staff wellbeing networks to increase membership, collaboration and sharing of learning and resources.

How you can contribute

  • Please join, support or promote our collaboration.
  • We need:
  • An expert with evaluation expertise
  • A critical friend to review the project
  • A collaborator who is also working on staff wellbeing or patient safety
  • A networker to connect us to initiatives that could support us within the Q community and also outside the Q community
  • A promoter to share our idea widely
  • An expert to share their insight & knowledge on growing and maintaining a successful network
  • A fixer to signpost us to toolkits or guides & software developers e.g. like the Hexitime platform
  • An expert to help with the budget & project planning

Plan timeline

31 Mar 2021 Meet software developers, develop communications, schedule network events (12 months)
30 Apr 2021 Launch software platform, connect other UK staff wellbeing networks
30 Sep 2021 Evaluate after 3 & 6 months of events against objectives, feedback to Q
30 Sep 2021 Review of effectiveness of strategy to recruit to collaboration platform
30 Sep 2021 Submit bid to Q exchange for Year 2 of the project
29 Oct 2021 Review evaluation and develop plan for the next 5 months
11 Feb 2022 Re-evaluate the collaboration platform, events against objectives
28 Feb 2022 Finalise overall evaluation & feedback to Q


  1. Gwyn,

    This is a great idea and I do hope that you take it forward. If you need any process visualizations done then please let me know as I'd love to help. Good luck with your idea.


  2. Hi Gwyn,

    Might be worth letting the 115 people in Q's Staff Wellbeing SIG know about this, if you haven't already:


    1. Thank you for making the introductions Matthew. I would also value your expertise in growing a successful network and associated costs, Gwyn :)

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