Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For health information and advice, read our pages on coronavirus. Learn about the government response to coronavirus on GOV.UK

Trust Innovation Group – Meet the Team

Our Trust Innovation Group has a small full-time staff team of 15 highly experienced individuals, based at St Nicholas Hospital in Newcastle.  The team can also draw on the expertise of a network of national and international experts in mental health from CNTW and other NHS Trusts.

The team’s professional project management qualifications include Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, PRINCE2, MSP and multiple certifications in improvement methodologies.

You can find more information below about our team’s experience and qualifications – click each person’s name in the box below to jump to their biography.

Carole Kaplan

Having retired from clinical work as a Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Carole Kaplan now works as the Trust Innovation Group’s Director of Transformation.

Her career has centered on professional and voluntary work, providing advice and expertise in a number of different areas spanning the healthcare of children, their protection in law, adult relationships and dispute resolution, as well as the improvement of health service systems. In addition, as an academic, she has significant teaching and research experience.

In the rest of her time, Carole is currently chair of the Policy and Research Advisory committee for the national charity Relate, and serves as a Trustee of the National Association of Child Contact Centres as well as recently having joined the Board of Research into Practice.  She also currently serves on three All Party Parliamentary Groups.

Her additional board work at a national level has included the Family Mediation Standards Board, the Voice of the Child Group, Advisory Board on Family Law, Council on Tribunals, Children Act Advisory Committee, NHS Litigation Authority and Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health professionals, amongst others.

As an academic, Carole has published a book and many chapters and papers in the areas of child psychiatry, ethics and litigation with a number of papers for Government consultation and briefings.

Stewart Gee

Stewart Gee is Technical Director of the Trust Innovation Group.

Stewart’s experience spans multiple and varied large scale transformational change programmes in both public and private sectors. Having worked for Nissan Motor Corporation for over 20 years and the NHS for the past 10 years, he has developed a vast knowledge of quality improvement methodologies and change management techniques, translating these to work in healthcare settings.

Since joining the NHS, Stewart has led the design and implementation of whole system change and continuous improvement approaches both in CNTW and in supporting other organisations to improve patient care and reduce waste across the NHS and wider systems nationally.

Stewart’s qualifications include:

  • BA(hons) Applied Management
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Virginia Mason Certified Leader
  • Practitioner: PRINCE2; Managing Successful Programmes, P30

Sarah Keetley

Sarah Keetley is the Transformation Lead within Trust Innovation Group, with a particular focus on the complexity of multi-layered systems.

With an academic background in scientific research from Durham and Manchester, she turned her attention to improvement in the NHS in 2003, and has successfully led on many projects to improve clinical, IT, performance and administrative systems, as part of a sector-leading programme of whole-scale change within CNTW, and, more recently, supporting other NHS Trusts who are beginning their improvement journey.

Sarah’s work includes baselining complex systems and using that analysis to facilitate whole scale service redesign.  She is a practitioner of continuous improvement methodologies, of PRINCE2 and MSP®, and is a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Having lectured in IT solutions and in her own field of doctoral research at Manchester, Sarah has designed and delivered training to clinical and corporate staff on a range of subjects and is now working to support NHSE with the development of their Demand & Capacity modelling programme nationally. Facilitation of stakeholder involvement and service design events is a passion, as is coaching others to build skills and identify value in this approach.

Sarah’s qualifications include:

  • BSc (Hons) Dunelm; MSc; PhD
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Practitioner: PRINCE2; Managing Successful Programmes
  • Train the Trainer: Demand & Capacity (NHSI/NHSE)

Hannah Partridge

Hannah Partridge is a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and a Transformation Clinical Lead in Trust Innovation.

Having worked in the NHS for 17 years across a range of community teams and inpatient settings, Hannah’s desire to improve the services delivered to individuals and their families led her to join the Transformation team within CNTW in 2013.

As a workshop lead and facilitator throughout CNTW’s whole scale change programme, Hannah experienced the challenges faced by staff in embracing change.  She joined Trust Innovation Group with the aim of sharing these experiences, learning from other organisations and providing clinical leadership within improvement approaches.

Hannah’s qualifications include:

  • Certified Leader in Improvement Methodologies
  • Masters Degree in Healthcare and Leadership, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Leadership Programme
  • Registered Mental Health Nurse

Elaine Scott

Elaine Scott is an administrator with over 30 years’ experience in both public and private organisations, and holds various qualifications relevant to her role.

Elaine joined CNTW in 2014, starting as administrative support in a Community Treatment Team, moving onto a supporting role to an Executive Director, and has been Trust Innovation Group’s Team Secretary / PA since 2016.

Since joining the Trust Innovation Group, Elaine has a wide and varied workload supporting the team including responsibility for organising frequent visits from national and international organisations.

Ranjit Kirton

Ranjit Kirton is a QI Facilitator/Project Manager within Trust Innovation Group and has 23 years of NHS background, with a mix of acute care and mental health service experience. Ranjit has worked within cancer services, bed management and led on many Trust-wide CQUIN projects.

Since joining CNTW, Ranjit has successfully led on a Trust-wide bed management restructuring project facilitating operational leaders to make system changes using continuous improvement methodologies.

Ranjit has recently completed a Master of Science MSc in Psychology and is a member of the British Psychology Society and has a BA in Service Management.

Ranjit also speaks fluent Punjabi and Urdu and offers a first class translation service when needed to our communities preferring to speak in those languages.

Andrew Barker

Andrew Barker is the Trust Innovation Group’s Quality Improvement Development Lead.

As a nurse, he has worked in and managed a range of children’s inpatient services. He recently managed CNTW’s productive ward team supporting clinical teams to achieve significant improvements in efficiency, safety, and patient care.

Andrew’s current role is focused on refreshing the quality improvement approach across CNTW to meet the needs of the recently developed leadership model across the organisation.

Carol Smith

Carol Smith has over twenty years’ experience working as a developer in IT, having started as a programmer, then moving into business analysis and then Lean.  Carol has planned and delivered change across directorates, supporting people to implement and maintain new processes.

She has worked as a Service Improvement facilitator/manager for the past 15 years, in acute and now mental health sectors.

Carol’s qualifications include:

  • BSc(Hons) Mathematics
  • PGCE Secondary Mathematics
  • Lotus Notes Professional
  • Certified Leader in Lean

Jonny Flanagan

Jonny Flanagan is a Project Manager and Quality Improvement Facilitator within Trust Innovation, with a focus on implementation of LEAN methodologies.

Jonny’s background started in retail where was North East and Cumbrian Co-Op’s youngest retail store and Post Office manager at 18.  He went on to implement retail style stock management systems in the motor and telecom industries before joining the NHS in 2004 with Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust.  Moving to North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust in 2014, he also acted as a guest lecturer for project management studies at the University of Cumbria.

Jonny joined the Trust Innovation Group in CNTW in 2018.  During his NHS career, Jonny has worked across three NHS Trusts in roles involving change management, programme management, project management, service improvement facilitation and stakeholder engagement, and is sharing the approaches of other sectors with colleagues in mental health.

Jonny’s qualifications include:

  • BSc History
  • Degree in Service Improvement, Transformation and Learning
  • MCIPS Professional diploma
  • PRINCE2
  • CLIC (Cumbrian Learning & Improvement Collaborative) Service Improvement Facilitator
  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Train the Trainer approaches

Paul McCourt

Paul McCourt is a Programme Manager and Service Improvement Lead.

With a background in business information technology, information engineering and management, Paul has more recently concentrated on business process improvement and quality improvement systems. He has 13 years’ experience as a senior manager in the NHS, working in operational, project and programme environments.

Paul has successfully led major projects and programmes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in a variety of settings, including whole hospital builds.

Paul has taught a range of subjects from introductory IT Skills to modules in health informatics at masters’ level.

His qualifications include:

  • MSc Business Information Technology
  • Practitioner: PRINCE2; MSP
  • QIS for Leaders

Tom Hooper

Tom Hooper is a Project Support Officer within the Trust Innovation Group.

Having spent five years in roles within primary care, he moved to a supporting role working alongside Executive Directors in CNTW.  Tom found a keen interest in quality improvement and project management, and seized the opportunity to join Trust Innovation to build those skills.

Tom’s natural abilities lie in working alongside service users, carers and staff members in workshops and on a one to one basis, supporting them to fully take part while challenging the status quo.

Tom’s qualifications include:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Lean

Matthew Price

Matthew is a Social Worker, who on qualifying in 2002 initially worked within Community Mental Health Services in Surrey, before moving to the North East in 2004. He subsequently undertook further post qualifying study and worked as an Approved Social Worker (ASW) and subsequently as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP). During his career, Matthew has worked within a number of multi-disciplinary Community Mental Health Teams in the North East, and has worked extensively within the legal frameworks of mental health and associated legislation, both as a Senior Social Worker in Local Authorities and as an Independent Social Worker.
In 2015, Matthew began working for the CNTW Initial Response Service (IRS), a single point of access service, and during his time there was involved in the development of systems and processes, taking a continuous improvement approach. This led to joining the Trust Innovation team in September 2019 as a Clinical Lead.

Matthew is Deputy Chair of the CNTW Social Work Senior Leadership Team and has been involved in developing governance for Social Work within CNTW as part of this work.

  • PGC with commendation – Mental Health Social Work Award
  • Full Post Qualifying Award in Social Work
  • Approaches to Learning and Assessment in Practice

Zoe Awburn

Zoe joined the team in 2019 as a Quality Improvement Facilitator/Project Manager within Trust Innovation Group. After graduating, she managed operations in the private dental sector, liaising with NHS practices across the country helping them to transform their services to match current demand. Spells at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust followed, where she worked in the Project Management Office, Executive Office and Emergency Planning team, working on projects at various levels from next generation inventory systems in Operating Theatres to whole service change. With a key focus on improvements in the Acute, Community and Mental Health services, Zoe is trained in Lean methodologies and has led on externally commissioned work for the team.

  • BA International Relations
  • Prince 2
  • CLIC + QI
  • Level 3 Award in Education and Training (PTLLS)

Jamie O’Hare

Jamie O’Hare is an Advanced Information Analyst within Trust Innovation Group, with experience using tools such as R and Excel, and methodologies such as SPC to analyse and visualise complex data. Having studied for a MEng in Civil Engineering, Jamie worked in the charitable sector on economic analysis of sustainable transport schemes before completing a PhD at Newcastle University.

Before joining CNTW, Jamie worked at CQC as an analytical consultant, supporting inspection planning and identifying regional risks within Mental Health services. He joined the team in 2019 and his role is focussed on supporting the development of effective information analysis service within the Trust and in customer organisations.

Becca Watt

Becca joined CNTW in August 2019 as a Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice in the Trust Innovation Group. She currently works alongside Elaine Scott to help support the administrative needs of the team. Becca has a background in hospitality, working at a wedding venue for 3 years prior to joining the NHS. She helped facilitate events, carried out front of house duties as well as administration. During sixth form, Becca studied Level 3 Health and Social Care and gained a double distinction* diploma.