Session D: Improving Staff Experience – Building a Peer Support Service

Compassionate leadership, together with effective team working across health and social care, has never been more important. Aspiring to be successful in managing these challenges, NHS Lothian aims to improve collaboration across Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) to ensure all staff are engaged and supported.  

Building a Peer Support Service, focuses on improving staff experience and aims to positively impact progress  across all key organisational priorities - improving the health of the population, improving the quality of health and care and achieving value and sustainability. 

The approach has been shaped by existing local peer support services and the NHS Education for Scotland stepped care model - Responding to Staff Distress. Developing a peer support service is a key provision within this model, and applications for Peer Supporter training have been sought from staff across the whole system.

The Kings Fund has published work on the need for our people to recover before our services can recover. In order to re-mobilise, the emotional needs of staff must be addressed and our approach to staff wellbeing must also be re-designed to ensure that it becomes the top priority. 

This session will articulate the evidence base for peer support as a core support service. It will describe the journey of spread and scale of the model at pace in response to a pandemic, explain how peer support fits in the staff support jigsaw, and give an overview of the SAFER-R model of peer support.


Pauline Macdonald

Specialist Education Lead Staff Engagement and Experience, NHS Lothian

Pauline Macdonald works in the Organisational Development and Learning Team (HR Service), at NHS Lothian.


Carlyn Davie

Consultant Emergency Medicine, NHS Lothian

Carlyn Davie is a newly appointed Consultant in Emergency Medicine having completed her training in NHS Lothian. Her interests are in staff support and wellbeing.

Marion McNaught

Critical Incident Stress Management Instructor, PSA Ltd

Marion McNaught has worked in the NHS for forty years – spending twelve years as a General Practitioner and nineteen years in Emergency Medicine with NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

Amanda Langsley

Associate Director, Organisational Development and Learning in NHS Lothian

Amanda Langsley is the Associate Director for Organisational Development and Learning in NHS Lothian. She is a registered mental health nurse and has work in the NHS for 24 years.