Strategy to reduce staff burnout

Strategy to reduce staff burnout

New strategy launched in November 2022 to reduce staff burnout in NHS talking therapy services.

The Oxford AHSN in collaboration with the Thames Valley’s four Talking Therapy services (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Milton Keynes) launched a new Model Staff Wellbeing Strategy to help NHS staff avoid detrimental stress and burnout.  Funded and supported by NHS England, the Model Strategy has been designed by, and for, NHS talking therapy services. It also aims to help services address ongoing staff recruitment and retention challenges.

In the face of increased workplace pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thames Valley’s four Talking Therapy services, working jointly through the Oxford AHSN, wanted to ensure services remained resilient for patients, by ensuring their staff were well supported at work. They have developed the Model Strategy which any Talking Therapies service could adopt or adapt to their own needs.

Area of focus

The Model Staff Wellbeing Strategy is based on a wealth of secondary research and practice from organisational development and workplace wellbeing fields.  It also draws on wide ranging conversations with staff working in Talking Therapies services about what would help them thrive at work.  The strategy focuses on four key areas:

  • Leading with Compassion
  • Managing Collaboratively
  • Team-working effectively
  • Belonging for, and by, all

It includes a wealth of practical evidence-based suggestions of how to organise and run services in ways that work well for patients and for the staff working there, as well as chiming with the NHS People Promise.


The strategy was launched in November 2022 at an NHS England national webinar for Talking Therapies services hosted by Hayley Matthews, national Talking Therapies Programme Manager and addressed by Professor David M Clark, National Clinical and Informatics Advisor.

The four Talking Therapies services in the Thames Valley are each provided by one of three NHS Foundation Trusts within Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Milton Keynes.

Claire Murdoch, CEO of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and national Mental Health Director at NHS England, said:

“Our colleagues provide such a skilled and important service and it is vital that we understand, share and implement best practice, in supporting them to stay healthy, well and effective.”

Dr Nick Broughton, CEO of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the Oxford AHSN Board, said:

“The pandemic not only highlighted the importance of Talking Therapies services but also the need to proactively support the wellbeing of staff working in such services. It is essential that we do this if we are to have services that are resilient and sustainable.”

Julian Emms, CEO, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, commented:

“Our staff are our most important asset and supporting them to be healthy and well at work is of upmost importance to us.”

Non-urgent advice: Learn more

The Model Staff Wellbeing Strategy and accompanying resources are available here:

Published: 16 December 2022