Chris is a consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Aintree Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Alongside his clinical practice, he is theatre lead for the digestive diseases unit. Chris was also the lead for enhanced recovery when the trust was an innovation site for the NHS Institute for Improvement's Enhanced Recovery Programme.

After completing his medical training at King’s College London, Chris went on to hold registrar posts in Singapore, Gillingham and London. He became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2003 and took up his current post in 2004.

Engaging with system-wide improvement

Chris has been involved in a number of quality improvement projects since becoming a consultant, but wanted to develop a deeper understanding of theories of change and leadership in order to engage with complex, system-wide improvement issues.

'The GenerationQ fellowship appealed to me because it would fill in the gaps in my knowledge about leadership and improvement theory,' he explains. 'I also wanted to develop my skills and confidence in influencing people to achieve change, particularly when working with organisations or parts of organisations that have different priorities.'

Putting patient experience first

During his fellowship, Chris will be examining how enhanced recovery principles can improve outcomes for patients undergoing emergency abdominal surgery. 'We've successfully implemented enhanced recovery within our elective surgery pathway and we know there's evidence that the same principles can benefit patients who have emergency surgery. I want to explore how improvements to pre-operative processes and communication between clinicians, as well as early post-surgery mobilisation and avoiding opiate-based pain relief, can reduce mortality and also the length of hospital stay.'

In the long term, Chris is keen to apply the knowledge and skills he develops through GenerationQ to leading large-scale, complex change projects within the NHS. 'One of the areas I’m interested in is how to make sure that competition between providers doesn't get in the way of a high quality experience for patients. It should never be the case that the organisation's own interests come first – we need to make sure the patient is always the top priority.'