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Mental health advisory group

The Mental Health HEEAG works alongside HEE’s Strategic Advisory Forum (SAF) to provide strategic professional advice and expertise to HEE around in its work on workforce planning and education development.

Advisory group members

  • Stephen Dalton (Co-chair), Mental Health Network
  • Chris Welsh (Co-chair), Health Education England
  • Felix Davies, Turning Point
  • Avril Devaney, Mental Health Directors of Nursing Network
  • Ian Hulatt, Royal College of Nursing
  • Paul Jenkins, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mary John, British Psychological Society
  • Paul Lelliott, Care Quality Commission
  • Kevin Mullins, National IAPT/MST Programme Director
  • Aideen O’Halloran, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care NHS Trust
  • Julie Repper, Improving Recovery through Organisational Change (ImROC)
  • Genevieve Smyth, College of Occupational Therapists
  • Jude Stansfield, Public Health England (PHE)
  • Denise Taylor, Pharmacist
  • Hazel Watson, NHS England

Meeting dates

  • 24 Mar 2014
  • 11 Jun 2014
  • 10 Sep 2014
  • 03 Dec 2014, 11:00 – 13:00, Portland House, London
  • 25 Feb 2015, 10:00 – 12:00, Portland House, London
  • 05 May 2015, 14:30 – 16:30, Portland House, London
  • 14 Oct 2015, 10:00 – 13:00, Portland House, London
  • 09 Dec 2015, 14:30 – 16:30, Portland House, London

Minutes from past meetings can be found in the related documents section below. For more information about this advisory group, please contact HEE.AdvisoryGroups@nhs.net.


Terms of reference

Purpose and Role

The overall purpose of the Mental Health HEE Advisory Group (HEEAG) is to work alongside HEE’s Strategic Advisory Forum (SAF) providing strategic professional oversight and expertise to Health Education England to influence decisions:

  • looking at a one to five year time frame (whilst being mindful of the longer term view and horizon scanning at a national level);
  • from the perspective of those practitioners delivering mental health care;
  • with a patient pathway focus.

The role of the Mental Health HEEAG will be to:

  • provide a short to medium term strategic view of the workforce planning and education system;
  • align the business of the Mental Health HEEAG to enable HEE to meet its mandate and key strategic requirements across all staff groups for health, public and social care;
  • support HEE in influencing decisions and policy concerning workforce planning and education related to delivering mental health care at a national level.


  • To provide expertise and advice on strategic workforce planning and education development across all practitioner groups; delivering mental health care;
  • To provide expertise and advice on how HEE could achieve parity of esteem between physical and mental health across all its workforce planning and education systems;
  • To make specific strategic recommendations to HEE in light of the Francis Inquiry and the requirements of HEE’s mandate;
  • To provide oversight on issues emerging from mental health staff groups;
  • To identify and promote best practice both in the UK and internationally to help support the work of HEE;
  • To support the work of the HEE SAF and Patient Advisory Forum by providing professional oversight at a national level.

Whilst mental health is a specialism in its own right, it is unique in that it is delivered, to a degree, by all health professionals. The immediate focus of the HEEAG will be to advise on the workforce planning and education of mental health specialists, but it will also share responsibility, with the uni-professional HEEAGs, for advising on mental health in the wider system.

Governance and Membership

The Mental Health HEEAG will be chaired by Stephen Dalton, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network, NHS Confederation and co-chaired by Professor Chris Welsh, Director of Education and Quality, HEE.

The HEEAGs will meet approximately four times per year, and meetings will be aligned to the HEE SAF dates.

The meetings will, wherever possible, be held in HEE offices for a maximum of 2.5 hours and at zero cost. Teleconference facilities will also be utilised.

The Mental Health HEEAG will be accountable to HEE’s Chief Executive through the HEE SAF.

The HEEAG will consist of a core membership of 20 (maximum). Core membership needs to be representative and consideration should be given to ensuring representation (where appropriate) from the following:

  • Chief Professional Officer
  • Higher Education Institute
  • Newly Qualified Health Care Professional
  • Patient/Lay representation
  • Professional Regulator
  • Royal College
  • Student
  • Union.

Mental Health HEEAG members will have a high level of credibility with their constituency and be able to allocate sufficient time and have the flexibility required to make an effective contribution to the work of the HEEAG. The Mental Health HEEAG will be supported by a secretariat provided by HEE’s Directorate of Education & Quality, who will be in attendance at meetings. Each organisation/group represented on the HEEAG will have at least one member.

External experts may be invited to attend meetings in order to contribute to specific agenda items, if necessary. The Mental Health HEEAG will convene time-limited topic-based working groups, drawn from a wide-range of partners, to address key issues in detail. The working groups will be governed by the HEEAG and will produce and present papers at meetings when and where appropriate.

The membership term will initially be for two years. Where a HEEAG member does not attend a minimum of two meetings per year, a replacement nomination from the organisation/group they represent will be requested.

The core of the HEEAG agenda will be informed by the work of the strategic priorities for HEE, the HEE SAF, HEE Patient Advisory Forum and HEE LETBs.

Ways of Working

By joining the Mental Health HEEAG, members agree to:

  • uphold the NHS Constitution;
  • always place the patient at the centre of HEE’s work, promoting and developing work streams aligned to pathways and patient journeys;
  • allow all members to have an equal voice;
  • commit to the highest standards of conduct, as governed by the 7 Principles of Public Office;
  • adopt a ‘can do’ approach and be open to challenge;
  • use accessible terminology, providing clear explanation of specialist terms and acronyms both verbally and in written documentation;
  • uphold the constraints of discussing confidential data and information outside of the meeting when consulting within their constituencies on specific issues raised in meetings, whilst supporting the need for openness and transparency.

Review and Future Arrangements

The revised governance arrangements (including membership) will be reviewed annually to ensure the arrangements are fit for purpose.




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