Our People

Our workforce have a range of experience, from lived experience and front line clinical practice to board level, spanning sectors including acute & community trusts, mental health, primary care, local authority, military and academia. Our teams bring the know-how in improvement, transformation, analytics, leadership, HR and organisational development, finance & performance, marketing & communications, and user involvement.

Aqua is also formally accountable to its Board which meets on a Quarterly basis. The Board is made up of the Executive Management Team along with Independent Board Members and Associate Board Members. Our Board consists of a range of high profile leaders within the NHS, and wider public sector. The board offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise and their guidance ensures our members and customers are always at the forefront of our overall vision.

Our Board

On Board

Sir David Dalton


Sir David Dalton joined the board in July 2019, following his retirement in March from the Northern Care Alliance, where he served as Chief Executive for 18 years.

A major figure in the health service, Sir David has 40 years’ of experience in the NHS and has over 20 years’ experience as an NHS Chief Executive. In 2014 David received his knighthood in the New Year Honours for his services to healthcare and was also recognised as the top Chief Executive in both 2015 and 2016 by the Health Service Journal.

On Board

Fiona Taylor

Chief Officer

Fiona is Chief Officer at NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport & Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups. Originally qualifying as a Registered General Nurse, Midwife and Health Visitor, she has held a number of roles across community care and service redesign.

In 2000 Fiona moved into her first Director level role with Mancunian Community Trust, and held several roles and portfolios, including as Acting Chief Executive. She moved to Sefton Primary Care Trust in 2007 and was appointed Chief Officer of the new Clinical Commissioning Groups in 2012.

As a system leader she is passionate about developing a strong sense of collaboration and partnerships with key stakeholders, to help improve the quality of care for the local population and communities.

On Board

Dr Andrew Wilson

GP and Chair

Andrew is currently Chair of NHS Cheshire CCG as well as Chair of Collaborative Commissioning Forum across Cheshire and Mersey CCGs.

He is also a part-time GP partner for Ashfield’s Primary Care Centre in Sandbach. Prior to graduating in medicine in 1996, he trained to be a Pharmacist and Research Scientist. Andrew has been involved within quality improvement work for several years and was also one of Aqua’s 2015/16 Leadership for Improvement Fellows.

On Board

Helen Bevan

Chief Transformation Officer

Helen leads NHS England’s Horizons Group as their Chief Transformation Officer. She has spent over 25 years within the NHS as a leader for change and has worked across a number of improvement roles and initiatives, including with the former NHS Modernisation Agency and NHS Institute.

Through the Horizons team, she aims to promote new ideas, approaches, and knowledge to help support improvements across health and social care, and champion emerging leaders for radical change. Much of this focus is through social movement thinking, community organising, improvement science, accelerated design and digital technologies.

On Board

James Mountford

Director of Quality

James is Director of Quality at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which has a multi-year programme focused on embedding improvement of quality and value into everyday work across the organisation.

James worked initially as an NHS doctor, then in consulting. From 2005-2007, he was a Commonwealth Fund/Health Foundation Harkness Fellow based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), both in Boston, USA.

James is also the Editor of BMJ Leader, a journal focused on research, debate, and education on leadership in healthcare.

On Board

Janet Williamson

Deputy Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Dentistry

Janet is the Deputy Chief Inspector of Primary Medical services and Dentistry at the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Prior to this, Janet was the Director of National Improvement Programmes at NHS Improving Quality.

Janet has led national change programmes in cancer, heart disease, stroke, diagnostics, and lung disease, working on whole systems and pathways of care with care providers, commissioners, clinical networks and policy makers.

On Board

Jim Gardner

Executive Medical Director

Jim is the Executive Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT.

A GP by background and a former Health Foundation Leadership Fellow, Jim has held multiple senior roles across clinical care, medical management, and academia. These include: GP Partner, Executive Chair of a GP out of hours co-operative, NHSE Area Team Medical Director and Responsible Office, Group Medical Director in the private sector, Deputy Head of the School of Medicine at UCLan and non-executive director of an acute hospital and of a hospice.

In all these roles, Jim has sought to promote professionalism and leadership whilst developing high performing multi-disciplinary teams.

On Board

Joanna Bircher

GP and Clinical Director

Joanna is a GP in Greater Manchester. She is Clinical Director to the RCGP/Greater Manchester GP Excellence Programme, Clinical lead for Quality Improvement at Tameside and Glossop CCG, a Generation Q Fellow of the Health Foundation. Additionally she is also a visiting Senior Lecturer in general practice at MMU.

She has a Masters degree in Leadership for Quality Improvement from Ashridge Business School and is co-author of the RCGP Guide to Quality Improvement. Her particular interest is in making established QI methodology relevant and accessible for Primary Care.

On Board

Libby McManus

Chief Nurse

Libby McManus has worked within the NHS since 1985 beginning her career as a registered Nurse. Throughout her career Libby has undertaken a variety of executive roles at NHS Trusts across the country, including working as an Executive Director and taking up a role as Chief Transformation Officer at the Royal Free London NHS Trust, leading change at scale across a growing group of hospitals.

Currently, Libby is the Chief Nurse of the Northern Care Alliance, appointed to the role in July 2020.

On Board

Louise Robson

Chief Executive Lead

Louise is currently the Chief Executive Lead for Provider Collaboration in the North West, North East and Yorkshire.

Prior to this Louise has worked in a variety of executive roles, including as Chief Executive at the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, focusing on leadership and enabling others to reach their full potential, and as Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

On Board

Lesley Massey

Chief Executive

Lesley was appointed as Chief Executive of Aqua in July 2019. Lesley joined aqua as a Director and founding member of the management team in 2010, overseeing the strategic development and delivery of quality improvement training and development, providing the tools and methodologies for building capability and capacity from Board to front line.

As a leading member of the Aqua expert faculty, she is also responsible for the design and direct delivery of executive team/board development programmes for quality and safety, as well as offering coaching support to both teams and individuals.

Lesley has worked in the NHS since qualifying as an Occupational Therapist in 1985. She has an MA in Health Care Management and has undertaken a number of senior leadership positions in acute hospital care settings. Pursuing her passion and commitment to making improvements in care quality and patient safety, and as a senior improvement advisor, Lesley has led several large scale/collaborative regional and national improvement programmes, particularly in reducing hospital mortality rates, zero tolerance to patient harm, and shared decision making/self-management support.

Lesley has considerable experience of working in complex systems using stakeholder engagement, partnership alliances and influencing the culture for innovation and improvement in order to drive tangible results. Prior to joining aqua, Lesley was an Associate Director with the North West Improvement Alliance and had undertaken a regional review of quality improvement capability and capacity within NHS care systems.

On Board

Phil Wadeson

Independent Financial Consultant

Phil is working as an independent financial consultant to the NHS, currently providing some input to a developing Integrated Care System.

He recently retired after a long career at board level in the NHS; his most recent post was Director of Finance for NHS England’s Cheshire and Merseyside region, which is responsible for the direct commissioning of primary and specialist care as well as funding and assurance for Clinical Commissioning Groups across the health and care system.

Prior to joining NHS England in 2013, Phil was Director of Finance at NHS Merseyside, which was made up of the four Primary Care Trusts across the region. Having worked in Liverpool for over 14 years, he oversaw the transformation of the city’s healthcare finances into one of the strongest and most resilient health economies in the country.

Before joining the NHS, Phil held board level positions in both local government and the private sector across the North West.

Senior Leadership Team

Senior Leardership

Lesley Massey

Chief Executive

Lesley was appointed as Chief Executive of Aqua in July 2019.

Lesley joined Aqua as a Director and founding member of the management team in 2010, overseeing the strategic development and delivery of quality improvement training and development, providing the tools and methodologies for building capability and capacity from Board to front line.

As a leading member of the aqua expert faculty, she is also responsible for the design and direct delivery of executive team/board development programmes for quality and safety, as well as offering coaching support to both teams and individuals.

Lesley has worked in the NHS since qualifying as an Occupational Therapist in 1985. She has an MA in Health Care Management and has undertaken a number of senior leadership positions in acute hospital care settings. Pursuing her passion and commitment to making improvements in care quality and patient safety, and as a senior improvement advisor, Lesley has led several large scale/collaborative regional and national improvement programmes, particularly in reducing hospital mortality rates, zero tolerance to patient harm, and shared decision making/self-management support.

Lesley has considerable experience of working in complex systems using stakeholder engagement, partnership alliances and influencing the culture for innovation and improvement in order to drive tangible results. Prior to joining Aqua, Lesley was an Associate Director with the North West Improvement Alliance and had undertaken a regional review of quality improvement capability and capacity within NHS care systems.

Senior Leardership

Cath Hill


Cath was appointed as an Aqua Director in October 2013. She holds responsibility for the Advancing Quality (AQ) programme and analytics, as well as Aqua’s finances and business systems.

Cath was previously the Associate Director of Strategy and Business Development at Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust. She is a qualified accountant with an extensive career in the NHS, covering a range of senior leadership roles in finance, consultancy, audit, strategy, and business development.

Cath is currently leading on the Well Led reviews of Foundation Trusts on behalf of Aqua, in conjunction with a number of our partners.

Senior Leardership

Elizabeth Bradbury


Elizabeth joined Aqua in 2010 as Director and leads improvement work on system transformation, mental health and lived experience and Aqua’s corporate communication and marketing team, strategic engagement and consultancy work.

Starting her career as a nurse specialising in urgent and emergency care she saw first-hand the need to integrate components of health and care systems and led multiple clinical quality and process improvement initiatives. She moved to hospital management and PCT and CCG commissioning roles and then to leadership roles in regional and national improvement programmes, including with the NHS Modernisation Agency and the Department of Health Emergency Intensive Support Team and as an improvement consultant for NHS Scotland.

She was a Health Foundation / Institute for Healthcare Improvement Quality Improvement Fellow in 2009-10 concentrating on system level change and models of integrated care. Elizabeth pioneered Aqua’s work on system integration in 2012 and has worked extensively with health and care system leaders to develop integrated place-based health and care systems and to build system leadership capability. She is also expert faculty on a number of aqua provider board programmes for members and consultancy customers.

Elizabeth is an executive leadership coach and was a board member of the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) 2014-16.

Senior Leardership

Neil Turton


Neil joined Aqua in 2020 as Director and leads the portfolio for the Academy, Shared Decision Making, Safety and Mortality.

Neil is an accomplished leader, with over 20 years’ experience of leading NHS and social enterprise organisations to improve health, wellbeing & life chances for people facing disadvantage.

Known for delivering innovation, improvement & service transformation in Salford, he was the founding Chief Executive Officer at Salford Primary Care Together, bringing together Salford’s GP practices to help transform the local health & social care system, and as Chief Executive at Salford Health Matters, where he lead this social enterprise to become one of the first primary care providers to be rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission.

During his career Neil has also worked as Deputy Director for Service Development & Delivery at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, as an Executive Director with the Big Life group, established a community based mental health service in London, and run a management consultancy business.

Neil holds a degree in Physics, a masters in Engineering, a PhD in Social Policy from the University of Durham, and is a Chartered Director status with the Institute of Directors.

Senior Leardership

Emma Walker

Associate Director

Emma joined Aqua in 2010, leading an extensive portfolio of programmes, and now works as an Associate Director.

Emma has led Aqua’s work in the area of shared decision making and self-management support over the past 6 years embedding it into practice with teams across the North West and beyond. Emma regularly links with SDM colleagues nationally and has attended all the NICE SDM Collaborative Events.  In 2018, Emma led the aqua study tour to the Hague to look at Buurtzorg nursing models in the Netherlands.

Previously a National Head of Service Development at NHS Direct, Emma led on innovation, long term conditions and Shared Decision Making. Here Emma developed online decision aids for the National Right Care Programme and the Dartmouth Summer School in the USA on Shared Decision Making.

Prior to NHS Direct, Emma has extensive NHS experience in both primary and secondary care, in the provision and commissioning of services as well as working with academic institutions.

Senior Leardership

Helen Kilgannon

Associate Director

Helen joined Aqua in 2015, she currently leads on System Transformation, Whole System Flow, Mental Health programmes and has corporate responsibility for Communications and Marketing and Relationship Management.

Helen has worked in the NHS for over 20 years, working in a range of provider and strategic organisations at Assistant and Associate Director Level.  As an Assistant Director of Organisational Learning and Development in a Mental Health and Community Provider, her key areas of work included leading coaching strategy, cultural development, health and wellbeing, communications and learning and development. At a regional level she has led major transformation programmes related to workforce and health and work, and in her early career she also led regional programmes for medicines management.

Helen is CIPD Qualified and is a qualified executive coach. Helen has extensive experience of delivering board and system level programmes and interventions.

Senior Leardership

Ruth Yates

Associate Director

Ruth is an Associate Director at Aqua leading a portfolio of programmes including the Advancing Quality programme and Aqua analytics and evaluation.

With extensive experience in leading the development and delivery of Business Intelligence services to Commissioning and Provider organisations, Ruth understands the importance of developing and delivering meaningful and actionable intelligence to a variety of audiences in order to deliver change.

At Aqua Ruth uses skills in data management, analysis and the use of data to improve in the Health Service to support our members and customers. Working with organisations to ensure they adopt an intelligence led approach to change, that they can understand and measure improvement and that they can evaluate the impact of interventions, Ruth and her team proactively use comparative analysis to support healthcare organisations to identify opportunities for improvement and measure change.

Our Staff

Staff Members

Anna Percy

Project Support Officer

Anna joined the NHS and Aqua in 2020 and supports the Personalised Care, Safety and Mortality portfolios by organising and coordinating Aqua’s quality improvement programmes. Anna assists her colleagues at all levels to plan, deliver and evaluate events and programmes for Aqua members in the North West and beyond.

Before joining Aqua, Anna previously worked in the events sector, organising and running a variety of events from weddings to large scale conferences. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Events Management and is planning to undertake her first Project Management qualification in 2021.

Outside of work, Anna enjoys cooking, running and travelling, and is a keen scuba diver.

Staff Members

Amanda Huddleston

Senior Improvement Advisor

Amanda is an organisational wide advisor for Mental Health, Flow & System Transformation teams covering aqua membership and bespoke offers such as frailty, primary care & care homes.

Prior to joining Aqua Amanda had over 20 years’ experience in acute, community services and public health. She has experience as a provider and a commissioner as well as working in leadership and governance roles.

Most recently, Amanda has worked in service development, redesign and improvement. She also has experience of developing innovative ideas, enabling systems via large scale IT programmes and also is a good communicator (she used to co-host a regional radio show).

Amanda is passionate about ensuring patient safety and quality; this has been recognised by the title of Queens Nurse. This was awarded for her innovative patient centred work in the community.

Outside of work, Amanda enjoys exploring new places, eating and laughing.

Staff Members

Andrea McGuinness

Head of Improvement and NHS Quest Lead

Andrea has worked within the NHS for 30 years with experience in front line clinical services, managerial and quality improvement roles. With an MSc in strategic leadership and change management and trained as a Patient Safety Officer from Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Andrea has worked with Aqua since 2010 across quality, safety improvement and patient experience programmes. Andrea’s experience in safety and quality improvement roles includes responsibility for scoping, designing, delivering and evaluating programmes that enhance the development of improvement capability and capacity for organisations.

Andrea’s skills include working and collaborating alongside organisations and teams to define and improve outcomes both for those experiencing and for those working within services. Andrea has led on key national safety and quality improvement programmes, on behalf of Aqua, including those supported by The Health Foundation and NHS Improvement. Andrea’s current role includes the Lead for NHS Quest network and Head of Improvement at Aqua. Andrea is a member of the founding cohort of the Q Community.

Andrea believes passionately that staff have the drive and desire to improve the quality of the services they work within. Andrea sees her role clearly linked to developing staff and enabling organisations to deliver on the critical challenges facing health and care services today.

Staff Members

Brook Howells

Senior Improvement Advisor

Initially employed to support the Shared Decision Making Programme in 2012, Brook now delivers training and facilitation across the Safety, Mortality, Academy, Shared Decision Making & Self Management Support Portfolio. She is Delivery Lead for the Human Factors programmes and also continues to have a keen interest in supporting Person Centred Care.

Brook studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of York, and then stayed at York for a Masters in Practical Ethics. She started working for the NHS in 2009, supporting quality improvement initiatives with the Greater Manchester CLAHRC before moving to aqua. She holds a PGCert in Innovation and Improvement Science and has completed an Apprenticeship in Non-Technical Skills and Human Factors.

A very keen event rider, Brook competes her horse Corey regularly around the UK, and otherwise spends her time crocheting toys for her two children.

Staff Members

Casey Leigh

Programme Support Officer

Casey joined the NHS and Aqua in 2016 and supports the Mental Health, Patient Experience and System Transformation portfolio to deliver outputs on Aqua’s four improvement priorities to support our members in the North West and beyond. Casey facilitates project and programme administration activity from planning and co-ordinating to ensuring the smooth running of events and programmes run by Aqua.

Casey achieved a BSc (Open) degree and Cert HE Humanities whilst simultaneously studying at the Open University and working as Executive Office Assistant in Aqua’s corporate team and successfully passed the ‘AgilePM 2014 Foundation’ project management qualification in 2018.

Outside of work, Casey enjoys reading science fiction, painting and making memories with her beautiful blended family.

Staff Members

Cathy Sloan

Head of System Transformation

Cathy joined Aqua in 2014 as a Senior Improvement Advisor, in 2016 she became Head of System Transformation.

She has 20 years’ experience of working in the NHS in a variety of senior roles, including operational management, commissioning as well as service improvement and redesign.

Cathy is in the process of completing a Level 5 qualification in coaching and mentoring.

Staff Members

Charlie Fish

Project Manager

Charlie joined Aqua in 2017 and is responsible for providing support to successfully deliver Aqua’s consultancy contracts. A key part of her role is the project management of the Safer Salford programme, where she works with key stakeholders to support improvements across the system.

Charlie graduated from Cardiff University with a BA (Hons) English Language in 2013 and has since developed a career in events and project management. In 2019 Charlie completed her Prince 2 Agile Foundation.

Away from work, Charlie enjoys spending time with her family and cooking.

Staff Members

Chris Jackson

Senior Improvement Advisor

Chris is a Senior Improvement Advisor for NHS Quest and Aqua. He is responsible for leading the Site Lead Network within NHS Quest. Chris also helps to deliver a number of programmes in NHS Quest and across Aqua’s Quality, Safety and Person-Centred Care. He has worked NHS for over 18 years, working and manging addiction services. From 2015 Chris moved into project management and more recently Quality Improvement roles within Community services before joining Aqua in 2019.

Chris brings his experience of clinical work and managing teams along with knowledge of quality improvement methodology and project management. He has an MSC in Leadership and Management, Prince 2 practitioner qualification and is also a Lean and Six Sigma Green belt.

Outside of work Chris is a huge sports fan and follows Wigan Athletic FC and Lancashire County Cricket.

Staff Members

Delphine Corgie

Improvement Advisor

Delphine comes from Reims (France) and joined the NHS in 1992. Delphine joined Aqua in September 2019 and supports the NHS Quest programmes amongst other programmes. She is also one of the Improvement Advisors who delivers our Academic portfolio of QI learning.

Delphine has worked across a number of organisations including The Christie NHS Foundation Trust ; Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust where she started her Quality Improvement career managing a variety of programmes such as Stroke 90:10 project, NHS QUEST and others within Haelo. She then joined CLAHRC GM in 2014 to focus on patient centred approaches and research in healthcare.

Outside of work Delphine enjoys gardening, a lot! And “literally spend hours picking, trimming, mowing, just watching my garden!

Delphine also have a keen interest in painting and runs a watercolour club in Stretford, and every second Friday of the month.

Staff Members

Dr Becci Pearce

Advancing Quality Programme Manager

Becci is sociologist and NHS quality improvement professional with a background in academic health and care research, teaching and quality improvement. Her doctoral research explored the process of engagement amidst older service users with complex healthcare needs, which was enriched by programme management and quality improvement roles both in community and acute NHS organisations. As a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, she taught qualitative and quantitative research methods and is now an ambassador for the NHSE/I Making Data Count initiative. She has expertise in change and programme management, human factors and is an advocate of speaking up within health and care, having previously worked as a Freedom to Speak Up champion.

Becci has played touch rugby for approximately 9 years and has recently completed her Level 2 England Touch Association refereeing certificate and Level 1 Coaching Certificate. She also enjoys speaking with her cat on a daily basis through the webcam she had installed in her living room.

Staff Members

Easha Aslam

Programme Support Officer

Easha joined Aqua in 2021 as a project support officer and supports the Mental Health, Patient Experience and System Transformation portfolio to deliver output on AQUA’s four improvements areas to support member in the North west and beyond.

Outside of work Easha enjoys running, eating out and going to the gym. Easha recently ran the Manchester half marathon for charity.

Staff Members

Dr Eileen McDonach

Evaluation Programme Lead

Eileen is responsible for leading Aqua’s evaluation work, supporting members and partners to design evaluation programmes, manage their delivery and disseminate subsequent learning.

Engage clinicians, leaders and partners to develop meaningful, robust and feasible evaluations for a range of healthcare improvement projects, programmes and interventions.

Eileen has a background in applied health research and has successfully delivered a range of developmental evaluations of complex quality improvement initiatives in multiple health and social care contexts. Eileen has a PhD in health services research, a Masters in Health Psychology and an MA (Hons) in Psychology. She is also a qualified PRINCE 2 Project Management Practitioner.

Outside of work, Eileen is a keen fell runner and is a member of her local club.

Staff Members

Elaine Fahy

Administration Officer and PA

Elaine is responsible for providing high quality administration support to the Aqua Management Team and to ensure smooth running of the corporate office.

Elaine has extensive PA and office management experience in both the NHS and private sector.

Outside of work, Elaine enjoys travelling to new places and dining out.

Staff Members

Hollie Rose

Communications and Marketing Manager

Staff Members

Jacqui Baker

Project Support Assistant

Jacqui joined Aqua as the Programme Support Assistant for the Advancing Quality Team at the end of September 2013. Jacqui is responsible for handling administrative tasks such as scheduling and recording meetings, in addition to assembling and disseminating information. In addition to this, Jacqui is responsible for arranging venues and booking travel in relation to the Advancing Quality Project.

Before joining Aqua, Jacqui previously worked in the position of senior quality administrator for a training organisation based in Horwich, Lancashire.

Staff Members

Jane Coutsavlis

Administration Officer and PA

Jane is responsible for providing high quality administrative support to the Aqua corporate office and Senior Leadership Team.

Prior to joining Aqua, Jane developed her extensive PA and Management experience in the private sector.

Outside of work, Jane enjoys creative writing, theatre and watching new films at the cinema.

Staff Members

Jane Harper

Business Operations Manager

Jane is responsible for the day to day operations management of Aqua, including leadership of the core admin team. Jane manages multiple elements of a diverse portfolio, including budget management and human resources. She also provides support to other aqua teams with their budget management tracking and any issues that may arise.

Jane has been working with Aqua since March 2008, starting as a Project Manager for the Advancing Quality (AQ) Team helping to organise and plan Collaboratives across the North West and also managing the AQ budget expenditure. In April 2015 Jane was appointed as Business Operations Manager for Aqua.

Outside of work, Jane enjoys living life to the full.

Staff Members

Jane Walsh

Senior Improvement Advisor

Jane joined Aqua in November 2020 as a Senior Improvement Advisor. She delivers training and facilitation across the Quality, Safety and Person Centred Care portfolio. Jane is the delivery lead for our Safety Culture Survey programme, and has a keen interest in Safety, Human Factors and Investigation.

Jane has worked in NHS ambulance services since 1995 and her previous roles have included: Paramedic, Clinical Education Development Specialist, Patient Experience Manager and Senior Patient Safety Manager. She is committed to making it easy to do the right thing and is passionate about improving the safety of services and the experience of service users.

Outside of work, Jane is a novice jeweller, average snowboarder and keen traveller.

Staff Members

Jessica Rigg

Communications and Marketing Assistant

Jessica joined Aqua as a communications assistant in 2021 and is involved in both creating and distributing internal and external marketing material such as newsletters, social media material and publications.

Prior to joining the Aqua team, Jessica has experience working in other project management offices within the NHS. Jessica started working in the NHS alongside her studies, in which she graduated in 2020 from Liverpool John Moores with a BA (Hons) in Journalism and recently graduated with an MSc in Management and Digital Business.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her friends and family, and travelling to new cities and countries. Jessica enjoys exploring new places to walk, going to the gym and is also a qualified lifeguard.

Staff Members

Jo Higgins

Senior Improvement Advisor

Jo is involved in the design and delivery of the Safer Salford programme, a whole system approach to improve safety focusing on the interface between health and care settings. Her role also involves facilitation of improvement training programmes in primary, secondary and social care.

Jo has a varied background of policy development and programme delivery in central government and third sector and has 5 years’ experience of working in health and social care. Jo is an alumnus of the IHI’s Improvement Advisor Programme (wave 43), a Q member is and is currently studying for her Master’s in Public Health.

Outside of work, Jo enjoys getting out and exploring the outdoors around the Peak District and North Wales.

Staff Members

Julie Clark

Strategic Engagement Lead

Julie joined Aqua in October 2015 in the newly created post of Strategic Engagement Lead. Julie’s aim is to actively support members to secure the best return on membership investment, by aligning Aqua offers to the strategic plans of the organisation and the transformation agenda.

Prior to joining Aqua on a full time basis, Julie worked with us as an Affiliate, primarily on our Mental Health programmes. In addition she led the NHS NW programme for “Eliminating Same Sex Accommodation” and has recently worked as a CQC inspector. Julie is also a Health Foundation Leader for Change.

Staff Members

Katie Lockley

Head of Communications and Marketing

Katie joined Aqua in 2015 and leads the organisations communications and marketing function. Her role is managing all communications and marketing activity with members and customers. This involves publications, events and conferences and branding.

Katie has been working in communications within the NHS for over 15 years in both commissioning and provider organisations. A media graduate from the University of Sunderland, Katie is also accredited by both the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Away from work Katie enjoys travelling to new places and attempting to knit (not at the same time!).

Staff Members

Kayleigh Barnett

Senior Improvement Advisor

Kayleigh is the senior improvement advisor for safety and mortality, and heads up the Mortality Improvement community. She is also responsible for delivering our Advanced Improvement Practitioner (AIP) programme and led on the national Patient Safety Measurement Unit programme (PSMU) alongside colleagues in analytics. Kayleigh delivers on many of our academy and safety related programmes.

Kayleigh joined the NHS at 18 as a part time records clerk whilst deciding what she wanted to do in her career. Fast forward nearly 16 years and she has undertaken a number of roles, including IT, Project management and 5 years working in Improvement. Kayleigh is currently studying for an MBA with Manchester Business School.

As she studies for her MBA, hobbies are a thing of the past, but when Kayleigh isn’t studying, she enjoys walking the dog (and the husband) and reading.

Staff Members

Kimberley Smith

Head of Business Systems

Staff Members

Louise Gelder

Senior Improvement Advisor

Louise has 15 years’ experience in learning and organisational development roles across the health and social care landscape including VCSFs. Prior to working in learning and development Louise worked in social care roles and working for equity for all irrespective of social circumstance or background is an important value of mine.

An experienced action learning facilitator, Louise also has a ILM Level 5 Certificate qualification in Action Learning Facilitation. Louise has coached and facilitated many groups and individuals; enjoying the range this brings, from facilitating groups of students or newly qualified practitioners to bringing together commissioners or leaders to develop communities of practice. Louise is an experienced coach, working with managers across all settings and is currently completing a ILM level 5 coaching qualification.

An advocate of all things Organisational Development, Louise believes that staff engagement, great leadership and positive cultures are the building blocks for any successful service.

Staff Members

Madison Piercy

Communications and Marketing Officer

Madison joined Aqua in October 2021 and is responsible for delivering day-to-day communications and marketing activities across our range of programmes and communications platforms; focusing on anything from social media management to the creation of publications, and more.

Madison has worked in communications and marketing since 2018, with experience in the higher education sector. In 2017 she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Lancaster University.

Outside of work, Madison enjoys staying in touch with her creativity by partaking in various crafts, as well as travelling and exploring new countries and cultures.

Staff Members

Manar Aldean

Project Manager

Manar joined Aqua in October 2021, and is a creative, committed and motivated professional, with extensive experience working and building relationships at every level within different NHS organisations.

Prior Manar’s role at Aqua as a Project Manager, she was a Project Support Officer for the Manchester Royal Infirmary Transformation & Improvement Team, working closely with the Transformation & Change Programme Director and the Assistant Director of Improvement alongside colleagues across the hospital and partner organisations to improve outcomes for patients and staff. Working to support the Improvement and Transformation Directors and project leads in creating, designing and providing improvement means and toolkits across a wide range of projects and service delivery tools and systems.

Manar’s previous experience extends to cover Senior Leadership recruitment, events and high-level board meetings’ arrangements, Staff development/ improvement through action learning sets, and Improvement workshops.


Staff Members

Neil Wilkinson

NHS Quest Project Manager

Staff Members

Paul Greenwood

Programme Manager

Paul manages the mental health programme including the CAMHS improvement programme supporting Aqua colleagues and members in improving mental health across all services. He is the Corporate lead , supporting the lived experience panel in ensuring all our programmes are co-produced. The panel are also supported by Paul in delivering lived experience to our members.

Paul has worked in health and social care for over 30 years as a practitioner (RMN), staff development officer and regional development lead (National Institute for Mental Health, NW SHA). At Aqua Paul has delivered a range of programmes from physical health and mental health, Armed Forces mental health, restraint reduction, children and young peoples mental health and supporting organisations in quality improvement including lived experience and co-production.

Paul has published papers on restraint reduction, physical health and new ways of working in mental health.

Away from work, Paul is a lover of gardening, art and theatre, and has an eclectic taste in music.

Staff Members

Paul Hawgood

Principal Business Intelligence Analyst

Paul joined Aqua in 2002 and has worked on our Simulation and Modelling project to support flow and is an expert on Measurement for Improvement, delivering a variety of training sessions. He is the analytical lead for our Reducing Mortality Programme and prepares our Quarterly Mortality Report. He also supports the Safety agenda through the production of our Safety Reports and by providing analytical input to safety projects such as the Safety Culture survey.

Paul has worked in a variety of information management and information analysis roles across a number of NHS organisations. These have included a GP Practice, Primary Care Trust, Community Services, and NPfIT Project Management and Service Delivery, an Acute-based Health Informatics Service.

Outside of work, Paul is a keen badminton player, runner, triathlete and mountain walker.

Staff Members

Peter Ledwith

Programme Manager

Peter has extensive experience in leading quality improvement initiatives in both the armed forces and healthcare sector. As the senior lead for quality improvement programmes across Safety and Mortality, Peter is responsible for overall management of the programmes. He previously held the role of Senior Improvement Advisor and was responsible for leading the Human Factors, Lean and Improvement Practitioner programmes.

Prior to joining Aqua, Peter held a number of roles with the Royal Air Force. Peter’s notable positions with the Royal Air Force include Quality and Continuous Improvement Team Leader, Station Error Management Coordinator and Technical Engineering Asset Management Training Instructor/Facilitator.

Outside of work, Peter enjoys spending time with his family in North Wales, watching football, cycling and sea fishing.

Staff Members

Rachel Bryers

Senior Improvement Advisor

Staff Members

Rachel Volland

Programme Manager

Rachel returned to Aqua as a Programme Manager in Nov 2019, leading primarily but not exclusively on the Safer Salford portfolio. Previously at Aqua her role included developing and delivering with the Academy portfolio and managing the mortality work stream.

Rachel has worked in the NHS since 2008 in roles within Quality improvement, large scale change, programme/project management and Transformation in a range of geographical areas and conditions e.g. Stroke, mortality and Dementia in Salford, Greater Manchester and North West England. Rachel’s expertise is in programme management and includes developing and managing large portfolios of work with budgets in excess of £1million.

Rachel has an MSc in Tourism Management a shift in focus from her BSc in Health and Community Studies! She also holds a qualification in training and development.

Outside work, Rachel has actively been involved in Girlguiding since being a brownie aged 7 years old, is a keen swimmer (pool and outdoor) and skier and loves spending time with family and friends in particular her husband and 2 sons.

Staff Members

Rebecca Ajibola

Programme Facilitator

Rebecca works with the Whole System Flow team and member organisations to facilitate the smooth running of the Whole System Flow programme throughout the lifespan of the diagnostic and design phases. Each phase of the programme concludes with a final report. Rebecca’s involvement includes business process analysis, facilitating diagnostic and design activities/events, measurement for improvement and capability building, and report writing.

Rebecca’s educational background is in Information Systems with International Business, with continuous professional development centred on project management and improvement of business processes. Her NHS experience spans over 12 years in both acute and community settings, starting as clinical support staff before following the ranks in a number of administrative roles.

Away from work, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family, taking on knitting and sewing projects and find out about new things.

Staff Members

Rose Crees

Programme Support Officer

Rose currently supports the Quality, Safety & Person-Centred Care Portfolio by coordinating and organising quality improvement programmes run by Aqua. Rose is involved at all stages of the portfolio’s outputs from initial planning to the evaluation of programmes. Rose assists colleagues at all levels to deliver a trusted source of quality improvement capability to aqua members.

Rose joined the NHS in 2016 and has previously worked for two NHS organisations. Before relocating to Manchester, Rose worked within the clinical research team at 2gether, a NHS mental health trust based in Gloucestershire. Following this, Rose went onto work at CLAHRC Greater Manchester, a partnership between providers and commissioners from the NHS, industry, the third sector and the University of Manchester.

Outside of work, Rose enjoys going to the cinema, discovering new restaurants and travelling.

Staff Members

Sally Moran

Programme Support Assistant

Sally primarily provides support to the Programme Support Officers within the Safety, Quality and Person-Centred Care team to ensure the smooth running of events. Her role includes updating delegate details from training delivered and inputting evaluations onto the database post event. Sally is also responsible for interacting both internally and externally with member and non-member organisations to arrange meetings for colleagues, and co-ordinating travel requirements for the team.

Before joining Aqua in 2018, Sally worked for the Lloyds Banking Group for 12 years in various customer service and account roles. Prior to this, she worked at Manchester Airport for several years for a large charter airline in facing and non-facing customer service roles.

Outside of work, Sally enjoys practicing yoga, running and travelling.

Staff Members

Sam Doddridge

Senior Improvement Advisor

Sam’s main role within the Advancing Quality (AQ) Programme is to drive improvement in standards of care delivery, develop clinical focus areas and to support Trusts to implement AQ measures locally via quality improvement initiatives.

Sam joined the Advancing Quality (AQ) team on a full time basis in July 2014. Prior to this, Sam held a dual role between the AQ team and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. As part of this role Sam worked regionally supporting other AQ Trusts with improvement, whilst also managing the Trust’s participation and performance in the AQ Programme and other National Programmes.

Sam has worked in the NHS for 20 years, since graduating from University. Prior to working for Aqua, Sam supported improvement at a Trust level in a number of National audits and local programmes; Myocardial Ischaemia, National Heart Failure Audit (NHFA) National Audit Project (MINAP), National Joint Registry (NJR), National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD), Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS), Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP), Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) care monitoring.

Staff Members

Sarah Walker

Programme Manager

Sarah first worked as part of the Academy team as an Associate and has experience of delivering QI training to members since 2012.

Sarah joined Aqua at the start of 2018 as Programme Manager for Capability Building with responsibility for designing, delivering and evaluating the QI programmes delivered by the Academy and supporting staff across the Quality, Safety and Person-Centred Care portfolio.

Sarah has worked in improvement roles for the last 13 years both with Aqua and at a Trust where she has supported teams and partner organisations to deliver sustainable change through integration and redesign of services. With an NHS career spanning 26 years she brings improvement experience across a range of organisations and disciplines including as a qualified accountant where she supported quality improvement through service change.

Sarah holds an MSc in Leadership and Culture for Improvement. Her skills as a facilitator, teacher and coach are underpinned with a qualification in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning sector and she is currently working towards here CMI Level 7 Coaching award. She brings an extensive knowledge of quality improvement methodology and practical experience of providing improvement leadership to a range of programmes and supporting organisations to develop their own system and culture for improvement.

Staff Members

Simon Wickham

Business Intelligence Analyst

Simon is responsible for advising on measurement plans and appropriate metrics for projects, analysing data for evidence of improvement through SPC and Run charts and the development of bespoke Excel documents for recording, charting and presenting data. He also provides coaching on improvement methodology and measurement for improvement and is responsible for analysis for Assurance and research, and producing monthly reports for aqua and project evaluations.

Simon has been working in the NHS since 2016 in data related roles and has been involved in a wide variety of projects, including working with GP practices on Improvement Capability, with acute providers on regional service improvement projects and with trust departments on their departmental improvement aims. Simon also holds an MPhys in Physics with a particular interest in Theoretical Physics.

Outside of work, Simon enjoys days out walking or cycling in the local countryside and hosting BBQs at home.

Staff Members

Siobhan Reading

Project Manager

Siobhan is responsible for supporting Programme Leads and Quality Improvement Advisers in the Safety & Mortality, Person Centred Care and Capability Portfolio to schedule and manage quality improvement programmes.  She is responsible for the day-to-day office management of the PSO Team and managing the portfolio finances.

Siobhan has worked for the NHS for 12 years in an administrative support role.  She has worked with Active Case Management Team, Practice Education in community and acute services, the Interpretation and Translation service and Dentistry at Health Education North West.

Away from work, Siobhan enjoys knitting and can knit a mean sock!

Staff Members

Stuart Kaill

Senior Improvement Advisor

Stuart leads the delivery of Aqua’s introductory level QI programmes (e.g. Introduction to Improvement). He is responsible for leading on two consultancy offers around maternity: MatNeoSIP, supporting maternity and neonatal teams taking part in QI across GM&EC, and Continuity of Carer, supporting maternity teams nationally to implement new models of care.

Stuart is a registered orthoptist – one of the strong army of Allied Health Professions – with 16 years of clinical experience, meaning he has insight into frontline NHS care and is able to translate QI methods to the shop-floor. Before joining Aqua in 2017, Stuart worked for Haelo, project managing Safer Salford, a system-level quality improvement programme.

Outside of work, Stuart loves the outdoors and often looks for ways to shoehorn cycling into conversations.

Staff Members

Tom Jenks

Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

Tom is part of the Advancing Quality Business Intelligence team, and is responsible for analysing and reporting on data for a variety of conditions, including pneumonia, hip & knee replacement and COPD. He works with the rest of the AQ team and with hospitals to highlight improvement opportunities through the structured use of data.

Before joining Aqua in 2017, Tom worked for 10 years in trauma audit as database manager for Europe’s largest trauma registry. During this time, he contributed to a number of academic research papers. He has a Master’s degree in Information Processing and is also a qualified teacher.

Tom has a PhD in Creative Writing and is interested in books, art and music.

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