In 2012, following the completion of his fellowship, Mark became Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, with corporate responsibility for access to emergency care across the trust.

He began working in the NHS in 1997 as a physiotherapist and went on to specialise in musculoskeletal disorders. He joined the NHS management training scheme in 2004 and has held a range of commissioning, operational and strategic roles in primary and secondary care across the East Midlands.

Mark has worked at Nottingham University Hospitals since 2008, initially as General Manager of the Musculoskeletal and Neurosciences directorate and then as Deputy Programme Director of the Trust’s Better for You whole-hospital change programme, which focuses on improving safety, quality, and patient and staff experience. 

Mark has a masters’ degree in health care leadership and management.

The importance of dialogue

Mark says that the fellowship was invaluable to him throughout his time leading the Better for You programme. 'We wanted to position clinical teams at the heart of our change efforts and the knowledge and skills I developed during GenerationQ really helped me to influence people effectively and change attitudes across the organisation.'

'Just one of the important lessons I learnt is that every contact you have with someone is a chance to engage them in quality improvement – that means unplanned conversations as well as meetings you’ve scheduled.'

Empowering others

Mark says that GenerationQ enabled him to develop a more flexible leadership style. 'I used to take quite a directive approach, but now I think about how I want to deal with different situations. I often choose to empower others to take the lead. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of managing the process, but if we want a change to stick then we have to focus on the behavioural aspects of change.'

One area where this approach has made a big impact is in diagnostic imaging. 'Staff in the imaging department didn’t know who was coming through the doors of the service and found it difficult to manage their workload. Too many inpatients had an unacceptable delay for a diagnostic image. I supported the team to take ownership of the problem and experiment with different solutions. The number of inpatients having their tests done within 24 hours went from 75% to 95%. This supported a successful reduction in internal waits that enabled us to close 96 beds, generating a saving of around £4.4 million.'