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The NHS is facing an unprecedented range of workforce, financial and performance pressures. Leaders locally and nationally need a strategic approach capable of maximising the impact and spread of the many promising NHS-led innovations, service improvements and new technologies.

NHS Impact, the new, single shared NHS improvement approach could help to meet this need, but a lot will depend on implementation. Those that get the most from improvement ideas and methods have made it part of mainstream delivery, rather than work led by enthusiasts at the margins of organisations. What does this really take? 

Join our panel to explore different perspectives on how to tackle the challenge of prioritising improvement in a system under pressure.  

Webinar: What will it take to bring improvement from the margins into the mainstream?


Dr Ailsa Brotherton has been appointed Improvement Director for the recently established National Improvement Board.

She joined Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2017 from Manchester Foundation Trust where she was the Director of Transformation for the Single Hospital Programme. Prior to this Ailsa was the Interim Clinical Quality Director for the North of England with the Trust Development Authority/NHSI.

She has also held a post-doctoral senior research fellow post, has a Masters in Leadership (Quality Improvement) from Ashridge Business School and is a Health Foundation Generation Q Fellow.

Ailsa has experience of designing and delivering quality improvement and large-scale change programmes. Ailsa was recently awarded an honorary professorship at the University of Central Lancashire and is working with the Trust’s academic partners to ensure that the Trust’s improvement programmes are evidence based and evaluated.


David Fillingham is Chair of the new National Improvement Board and also Chair of the Trust Board and Council of Governors at Lancashire & South Cumbria Foundation Trust.

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 FT. 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. He was awarded the CBE for this work. In 2010 David was made the National NHS Quality Champion in the NHS Leadership Awards.

David was the Chief Executive of AQuA (the Advancing Quality Alliance) from it’s creation in April 2010 until he retired from the NHS in June 2019. AQuA is a membership funded improvement organisation based in the North West of England.

He has also held a number of non executive roles including Deputy Chair at Aintree Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of the Trafford Local Care Alliance and Chair of the Healthier Wigan Partnership. He has also been a visiting Senior Fellow at the Kings Fund.

In August 2023, David was appointed as Chair of the NHS National Improvement Board.

David has particular interests in quality improvement, leadership development, co-production with the users of services and partnership working.


Dr Neil Goulbourne is Chief Strategy, Partnerships and Transformation Officer at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.  He joined in August 2023 from Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, where he was Director of Strategy, Planning and Performance and Chief of Staff.

Dr Goulbourne has a wide and varied NHS and private sector career and brings a wealth of strategic insight and experience to the role at LGT. He served as a GP and Junior Doctor for over a decade in London and the West Midlands before moving into senior leadership roles in the private healthcare sector. Neil returned to the NHS in 2015 as Deputy Director, Strategy for NHS England, and has since worked at GSTT and Croydon in senior roles in strategy and improvement. 

Neil Goulbourne headshot

Before joining the Health Foundation, Penny worked at Newham University Healthcare NHS Trust in East London, where she was the Director of Strategy and Service Improvement. Penny has spent her career leading improvement work at local and national level in the NHS, with particular expertise in process and system redesign, leading strategic change across organisations, developing networks to support improvement, collaborative design and patient safety. 

Penny Pereira, Deputy Director of Improvement at the Health Foundation


Malte leads the Foundation’s work to support radical innovation and improvement in health and care services, providing insights, practical resources and funding to enable change, including through new technologies and data. He also oversees the Foundation's strategic partnerships in this space, including the Q CommunityTHIS Institute and IMPACT Centre.

He was previously Chief Integrated Care Officer at Birdie, a digital startup helping to reinvent the way we age, where he led its collaboration across social care and the NHS. Before that he was Executive Director of Strategy and Intelligence at the Care Quality Commission, leading on its methodology, analytics and communications, including its regulatory approach to new innovations and improvement. He has also lived and worked in Sierra Leone, and in the UK he worked at the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, the Department of Health, and Accenture.  

He is a member of the Sciana Health Leaders Network, and a Fellow of the RSA. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the London School of Economics and a Masters and PhD from the University of Oxford.

Image of Malte Gerhold

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