AQuA is formally accountable to its Board which meets on a quarterly basis.
The Board is made up of the Executive Management Team as well as a number of Independent Board members and Associate Board members who bring a wealth of experience and play a vital role in helping to set our overall vision for our work with members and customers.
David Fillingham CBE
David was appointed as the first Chief Executive of AQuA in April 2010. David joined the NHS in 1989 from a career in manufacturing. He went on to take a number of Chief Executive posts including Wirral FHSA, St Helens and Knowsley Health Authority, North Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
From 2001 to 2004, David was Director of the NHS Modernisation Agency, developing new ways of working and promoting leadership development across the NHS as a whole, For this work he was awarded a CBE in the Queens New Year Honours.
In 2010, David was made the National NHS Quality Champion in the NHS Leadership Awards. He has lectured internationally on the topic of quality improvement and leadership development, and has written a number of publications, including Lean Healthcare (2008) and Developing System Leaders (co-authored with Belinda Weir and published by The King’s Fund 2014).
In his work with AQuA David focuses on developing Improvement Leaders, working with Boards, and nurturing system leadership skills across whole communities.
David is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, and a Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chair at Aintree Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
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.
Lesley joined AQuA as a Director and founding member of the management team in 2010. Lesley established and leads the AQuA Academy, 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.
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.
Elaine Inglesby-Burke CBE
Executive Nurse Director and Deputy Chief Executive, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Elaine is the Executive Lead for Nursing Governance, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement and Deputy Chief Executive at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Since 1996, she has held Executive Nurse Director positions across both specialist and large acute Trusts.
As a Florence Nightingale leadership Scholar, she undertook the opportunity for a women’s leadership programme for global executives at Harvard University, as well as the Executive Quality Academy at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, Boston.
In 2015, Elaine was awarded a CBE for services to nursing in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
Director of Nursing and Governance, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Chief Officer, NHS South Sefton CCG & Southport and Formby CCG
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 a number of 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.
Director of Finance, NHS England (Cheshire & Merseyside)
Phil is Director of Finance for the 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 is 2013, Phil was Director of Finance at NHS Merseyside, which was made of the four Primary Care Trusts across the region. Having worked in Liverpool for over 14 years, he has overseen 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.
Dr Andrew Wilson
GP and Chair of NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group
Andrew is currently Clinical Chair of NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Chair of the Connecting Care in Central Cheshire, which has involved a number of projects around large scale change and collaborative leadership.
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 a number of years, and was also one of AQuA’s 2015/16 Leadership for Improvement Fellows.
Chief Transformation Officer, Horizons Group, NHS England
Helen leads NHS England’s Horizons Group as their Chief Transformation Officer. She has spent over 25 years within the English NHS as a leader for change, and has worked across a number of improvement roles and initiatives, including previously 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.
Dr Joanna Bircher
GP and Clinical Director for the Greater Manchester GP Excellence Programme
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 and a board member of AQuA (Advancing Quality Alliance). 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.
Dr James Mountford
Director of Quality at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
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 a non-executive director at AQuA, the quality improvement partnership based in northwest England. He is also the Editor of BMJ Leader, a journal focused on research, debate and education on leadership in healthcare.
Dr Janet Williamson
Deputy Chief Inspector of Primary Medical services and Dentistry, Care Quality Commission
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.
Associate Director for Psychological Professions, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
Gita is a clinical psychologist and has specialised in working with older people and adults in Glasgow, Salford and currently Lancashire. She is a founding member of the Psychological Professions Network and its current chair. Gita's current role is as Associate Director for Psychological Professions at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust. This post combines a governance and leadership role with management. Gita's current clinical work is within the Lancashire Traumatic Stress Service and has developed a well-being training package for staff – Looking After You, Looking After Me (LAMLAY) and has presented at conferences in this area.
She also contributes to national and professional bodies including committee work and roles at NICE (PTSD guidelines update, Quality Standards), BPS Division of Clinical Psychology and is joint national Staff Wellbeing lead for Positive Practice in Mental Health. She is also joint lead on a regional Schwartz Rounds project aimed at extending Schwartz Rounds across the North West.
Director of Transformation at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Tiffany served in the British Army for more than 20 years in Defence Medical Services, before being appointed as Director of Transformation at St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals NHS in 2017.
During Tiffany’s Army Career, she worked all over the world. She deployed a large team to Afghanistan, where they provided the primary care, pre-hospital emergency care, dentistry, mental health care, physiotherapy and associated medical operational planning across the country, wherever there were British Troops.
Tiffany’s role as Director of Transformation for St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, includes engaging with stakeholders outside of the Trust in the local boroughs, CCGs and neighbouring NHS Providers. Her aim is to seek greater integration across the health and social care system through ever closer working, collaboration and service transformation.