QI Community

Across health and social care in Northern Ireland many staff, service users and carers are involved on daily basis in helping to improve the quality of services we provide.

However, there are some lead QI individuals in HSC organisations who can provide advice, support and guidance to get your quality improvement journey started or help you on the next step of your journey.

There are also engagement leads in each organisation. Below is some information on some members of our QI community.  Why not connect with one of them?

Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

Colin McMullan - Senior Manager Quality Improvement/Legal Services

Picture of Colin McMullan My role includes responsibility for managing the organisation and coordination of quality improvement work and quality improvement teaching in the Belfast Trust. I graduated as a Scottish Improvement Leader in 2017 and have led improvement projects in Belfast on patient feedback and learning from harm with the Vascular and Gynae teams.

I am currently supporting improvement work around Ceilings of Treatment and Joy in Work. I also teach on Trust QI training programmes and mentor the improvement projects of teams being trained.

In Belfast there are Quality Improvement training programmes available for all bands of staff as follows:

  • Scottish Improvement Leader (ScIL) for Directors and Divisional Management Teams.
  • Safety Quality Belfast (SQB) open to all staff in the Belfast Trust.
  • Specialist Trainees Engaged in leadership Programme (STEP) for doctors in training.
  • SAS Doctor Training in Improvement and Driving Excellence (StRIDE) which is for our Specialty Doctors and Associate Specialists.

These QI training programmes are at level 2 on the Q2020 Framework. If you are interested in QI training, starting a QI project or have any queries please contact me on 07885 238338.

Northern Health & Social Care Trust

Gill Smith - Innovation and Quality Improvement Lead

I joined the NHSCT in October 2016 as Innovation and Quality (IQI) Lead. I have over 25 years experience in health and social care – mostly spent working in service improvement, quality improvement and patient safety. My first ‘formal’ introduction to the Model for Improvement (which includes the use of the simple Plan, Do, Study Act – PDSA cycle which we are promoting in the NHSCT) was in 2006 when I successfully led the Safer Patients Initiative (phase 1) working with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in partnership with the Royal and Mater Hospitals Trusts. I subsequently developed and implemented a similar Patient Safety Programme in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in 2007/08.

My role in the NHSCT is to provide organisational leadership and support to delivery of the Innovation and Quality Improvement Strategy, and to work towards building our ‘community of leaders’ on our IQI journey. I am committed to making IQI simple and part of our day job so that we can make best practice routine practice.

If you think I can help you on your IQI journey please contact me on: gill.smith@northerntrust.hscni.net

Martine McNally - Clinical and Social Care Governance Manager

I have worked in the NHSCT as the Trust Clinical & Social Care Governance Manager since August 2007. I have over 25 years’ experience working within health and social care. I completed the Patient Safety Executive Development Programme with Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in March 2008 and the Clinical Microsystems Programme with the Dartmouth Institute Microsystem Academy in January 2011. In 2006/07 I successfully led the Safer Patients Initiative (phase 2) working with the Health Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

In my role, I work with frontline teams implementing the Patient Safety Quality Improvement Plan, and I am committed to building capacity and capability in the organisation by using proven patient safety methodologies. I work closely with Trust Senior Managers to ensure there is an integrated approach to governance which supports a culture of openness and learning across the organisation.

If you think I can help you on your IQI journey please contact me on: martine.mcnally@northerntrust.hscni.net

Fiona Gilmour - Nurse

As a nurse I have worked in both hospital and community settings, have a passion for working in palliative care and have gained specialist palliative care experience with the NI Hospice. It was during my experience with the Hospice that I was initially exposed to service improvement. I am currently leading on various projects which involve enhancing the quality of palliative care service provision across our Trust, including, voluntary, statutory and community sectors. I am committed to help you develop your ideas through IQI – small changes can have a huge impact. If you have an idea, which you think would improve the outcomes of palliative care service provision or improve the experience of the service users, then I would be delighted to hear from you. If I can help in any way then please get in touch. Fiona.gilmour2@northerntrust.hscni.net

Jonathan Holland - Consultant Anaesthetist

I am a Consultant Anaesthetist having joined the Trust in September 2016, mainly working on the Antrim site. Through my career, I have taken part in the Leading in Safety, Quality and Experience program in SEHSCT which involved completing the online Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) training, and the Senior Trainees Engaging in Leadership Program in BHSCT. I then went on to become a mentor for other projects in STEP and Safety, Quality Belfast.

I am actively involved in quality and safety improvement being the audit lead for the anaesthetic department in Antrim Hospital. Dr Will Donaldson and myself have developed the SQuIGLS programme to help structure our department’s approach to quality improvement and simulation. I am keen to support others in beginning their quality improvement journey and to see it become second nature so that we are striving for excellence in the care that we deliver. If you think I can help you on your IQI journey please contact me on: jonathon.holland@northerntrust.hscni.net

James Nelson

I am enthusiastic about using Information Technology to improve our services. This could be through involvement in large projects such as the regional eHealth agenda including the Encompass programme (planned regional Electronic Health Care Record system) or smaller local improvement projects such as use of video-conferencing technology or mobile devices to improve our efficiency and patient care. eHealth is a growing area, and while resources are not unlimited, the NHSCT has a track record of innovation and our IT staff are keen to support clinicians in improving their clinical work. I am happy to act as a contact point for clinicians across the Trust, to help them engage with our IT colleagues. If you think I can help you on your IQI journey please contact me on james.nelson@northerntrust.hscni.net

Anna Lappin - Medicines Governance Pharmacist

I have been in my current post of Medicines Governance Pharmacist at the NHSCT since 2006, based at the Pharmacy and Medicines Management Centre, Beech House, Antrim Area Hospital.
After graduating from Queens University, Belfast (1992) with a degree in Pharmacy, I spent 5 years working in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, in a clinical pharmacist role before moving to Saudi Arabia to take up a post at Saudi Aramco, Al Khobar. Returning to Northern Ireland I then took up the post of Dispensary Manager at the City Hospital, Belfast (2004) before moving into my current role. In 2010 I graduated from Imperial College, London, with an MSc in Quality and Safety in Healthcare. In 2014 I spent a week at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston, USA and completed the IHI Patient Safety Executive Development Programme. I am committed to developing Quality Improvement as a key tool in the development of safety solutions to avoid harm caused from medication incidents. If you think I can help you on your IQI journey please contact me on: anna.lappin@northerntrust.hscni.net

Caroline McGonigle - Social Worker

I have been a Social Worker for 19 years, based in Community and Hospital settings within both Adult and Children’s Services. In 2016 I completed the Regional QI Programme, and I currently chair the Evidence Informed Improvement in Social Care Forum, supporting Social Work Professional Leads from all Divisions to embed research and quality improvement into daily social work practice. Alongside a regional colleague, I also lead the ‘Staying Connected’ Regional Social Work Quality Improvement Network, sustaining the momentum for quality improvement in Social Work.
I am committed to supporting Service Users, Carers and Staff to improve outcomes, through quality improvement. Small changes using the Model for Improvement Plan Do Study Act can yield significant improvements to services benefitting our Service Users, Carers and Staff. If you have an idea and think I can help please email me caroline.mcgonigle@northerntrust.hscni.net

Elizabeth Graham- Assistant Director, Nursing Innovation and Development

Hi, I completed my nurse training in the Mater Infirmorum Hospital in 1987. My nursing career took me to London working in the field of neurology and neurosurgery, followed by a spell in Toms River, New Jersey in patient rehabilitation.

I spent 11 years in District nursing, and following subsequent attainment of BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care Management and MSc in Primary Care and General Practice, I took up my NHSCT Assistant Director post in 2007.

I enjoy education and training programme development utilising my Post Graduate Certificate in Education skills, I am also an honorary fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Having completed the IHI Open School in 2016, I then embarked on the Improvement Advisor programme completing in December 2018.

Myself and my team have pioneered many new successful dynamic service developments for NHSCT which have now been adopted regionally, guided by quality improvement and practice development methodologies. This work has been published in a national nursing journal.

I genuinely believe we have so much expertise within NHSCT and I would be keen to help you in any way I can to make your idea a reality.

Southern Health & Social Care Trust

SHSCT - Continuous Improvement Team

The SHSCT Continuous Team aim is to support the delivery of safe, effective, high quality compassionate care.

Team objectives for 2018 – 2019 include:

  • To provide staff with a range of accessible accredited quality improvement capacity and capability training programmes;
  • To increase quality improvement awareness; creating conditions for learning and providing a supportive environment where staff and service users can thrive in leading improvement;
  • To provide service users with access to quality improvement capacity and capability training to support the delivery of coproduced and co designed services.

For further information please contact: quality.improvement@southerntrust.hscni.net

Paula Tally - Assistant Director of Best Care Best Value (Acting)

Contact Paula:


Tel: 028 37560146 or Mob: 07714855261

Jacqueline Morton - Head of Continuous Improvement

Contact Jacqueline:


Tel: 028375660060 or Mob: 07920875792

South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust

Brenda Carson - (RGN) Quality Improvement Lead

Brenda started nurse training at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast in 1986 and on qualifying as a RGN began her career across a range of services in South Eastern HSC Trust. Brenda took up post as Patient Safety Officer in 2005 and is currently the Lead for Quality Improvement.

Brenda has completed the IHI Patient Safety Officer Programme a PGC in Patient Safety and Clinical Risk Management, a PGD in Health and Social Care Management and Clinical Microsystems Coaching at Dartmouth Institute, Vermont. Brenda is also an Improvement Advisor and is currently undertaking a faculty development opportunity with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Brenda was twice was awarded the Chief Nursing Officers award for Patient Safety at the RCN Nurse of the Year awards in Northern Ireland in 2007 and 2014.

Brenda leads the organisation through a number of collaborative improvement programmes along with leading on the development of a Quality Improvement Academy within the South Eastern Trust to build Improvement Science capability at all levels of the organisation. You can contact Brenda on brenda.carson@setrust.hscni.net

Jocelyn Harpur - AHP/QI Practitioner

Throughout my clinical career as a Speech and Language Therapist I have worked across a range of community and hospital based services within South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (SEHSCT). I specialise in adult neuro-disability and was heavily involved in the development of the Community Brain Injury Service within the Down and Lisburn area and achieving three full consecutive CARF accreditations for this service. I have also contributed to the RQIA reviews of Brain Injury Services at a regional level. I continue to practise as a Speech and Language Therapist and have recently taken up a part-time secondment to SEHSCT’s central QI Team.

My recent journey in Quality Improvement started when I completed the SEHSCT SQE (Safety, Quality Improvement and Experience) Programme in 2014. This programme was instrumental in changing my thinking about how we can bring about measurable improvement in our health and social care settings through applying quality improvement methodology. The SQE Programme enthused me to further develop my knowledge and skills in QI. I am a Scottish Quality and Safety Programme Fellow and a Clinical Microsystems Coach (Dartmouth Institute). I have been on part-time secondment to the SEHSCT central QI Team since January 2017 contributing to the development of the QI Academy within the organisation. My role includes supporting and coaching teams in their QI journey, development of SEHSCT QI Fellowship Programme, being an active member of our teaching faculty and contributing to the teaching and mentoring faculty within the Regional Social Work, Nursing and Midwifery Quality Improvement Programme.

I am very passionate about QI and if you think I can help you on your journey please contact me on: Jocelyn.Harpur@setrust.hscni.net

Naomi Dunbar - Assistant Director Strategic and Capital Development

Naomi Dunbar
Assistant Director Strategic and Capital Development
Ulster Hospital

Western Health & Social Care Trust

Mandy Gormley - Governance Manager, Quality & Safety Department

Mandy GormleyI have been in my current post since 2007, with a remit for coordinating the Trust Quality Improvement (QI) Programme. I have almost 30 years’ experience in health and social care – mainly spent working in quality improvement, audit and risk management. I attended the International Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Patient Safety Officer Executive Programme, in Boston in 2008. Following this I was involved in developing a structure and programme for patient safety and quality improvement within the Trust, which has grown over the years. More recently I have been trained as a Microsystem Coach and have been cascading this training to cohorts of coaches who work with Trust teams.

My role in the WHSCT is to introduce, coordinate and be involved in a range of initiatives, events and training which raises awareness and supports staff to make improvements to services. I am committed to working with teams and get great satisfaction from teaching methodologies and helping staff see the benefit of using QI methodologies. If you think I can help you on your QI journey please contact me on: mandy.gormley@westerntrust.hscni.net

Jenny Mullan, - Lead Nurse, Tissue Viability Service

Hello, my name is Jenny Mullan.

I am the Lead Nurse for the Tissue Viability Service for the Western Trust, which is a nurse led service. My role is multifaceted with a remit for education of staff, research, quality improvement, and evidenced based care delivery, clinical and managerial responsibility. Regional working is essential to my role and improving all aspects of the patients’ journey as they progress through our service. Multidisciplinary working is an essential and intrinsic aspect of my role and I am passionate about making this seamless and accessible to patients echoing the Trust core vison of right care first time for all our patients.

I recently completed the post graduate diploma in leadership and management and the IHI improvement advisors programme (cohort 2, 2018). I realised a few years ago that to improve patient outcomes innovative care delivery should be encouraged by front line staff who are delivering this care. Leadership, to facilitate this improvement is central to ensuring that staff are valued and encouraged to actively seek a “ better” and more efficient way to serve their patients. I am passionate about patient centred care, delivered holistically. When I observe improvements in patients’ quality of life I’m satisfied that I’m doing my best. As always there is room for improvement and I’m excited about being a leader in this era of improving, transforming and delivering the improvements that are required across the complexities that challenge our health and social care system.

Specialist area of interest: Leadership, staff development, data collection and analysis, QI methodologies

I can be contacted on: Jennifer.mullan@westerntrust.hscni.net

Daryl Connolly- Medicines Governance and Lead QI Pharmacist

Hello! My name is Daryl Connolly

I am the Medicines Governance and Lead QI Pharmacist in the WHSCT. Although I am involved in investigating all medication incidents that happen in the Trust, my aim is to look at how we can improve systems to minimise medication related risk. I completed CAWT/Safety Forum QI training in 2012 and the Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship in 2018 #Cohort10.

The use of Quality Improvement methodology is growing within the WHSCT and October 2018 is a special milestone when we launch our level 2 ‘Safety Quality West (SQW) – Delivering Improvement Programme.’ This programme will increase our QI knowledge base and increase the number of mentors that we currently have to lead and mentor QI projects in future years.

The programme promises to bring you excellent speakers and will allow you to take what you have learned to improve quality and safety at the frontline to your teams and patients you look after.

My interests outside work include coaching hurling to Na Magha U14’s and still playing the odd time when not injured!

Specialist area of interest: QI methodologies, Networking, Data & Charts, Medication Safety

Contact Ext 213759 (Pharmacy) & 214138 (QI office MDEC) daryl.connolly@westerntrust.hscni.net

Twitter @QImedgovpharm

Catherine McDonnell, - General Adult Psychiatrist

Hello! My name is Catherine McDonnell

I work as a General Adult Psychiatrist within the Northern Sector of the WHSCT. I lead the Trust Flow Coaching Academy which combines Coaching and Quality Improvement methodology to improve patient care across clinical pathways.

I am a passionate believer that as healthcare professionals we have a duty to continually perfect our craft as individual clinicians but also to improve the systems in which care is delivered. Training has traditionally focused on honing individual clinical skills but has prepared staff less well to work in and negotiate the complex system that is the NHS.  SQW is a new training program which aims to fill this gap.

I have been striving to improve services at the frontline throughout my career, making it up and making mistakes as I went along.   I came across the world of Quality Improvement relatively late in my career and it was like finally finding a compass and a map.  Improvement work became so much easier as I could follow in the steps of others.  I learnt the methodical approach to measurement so improvements made could be clearly demonstrated.  I acquired a deeper understanding off human behaviours, systems and models for change.

SQW is a great opportunity for you to gather knowledge and skills that will help you grow confidence in your ability to shape services. It is easy sometimes to focus on things we cannot change.  Quality Improvement encourages us to identify things we can change and shows us how to do it.

I really hope you enjoy the course and that you will be inspired to improve services one step at a time. That’s the only way to climb any mountain!

Specialist area of interest: Leadership, QI methodologies, Resilience and Human Factors in QI, Networks

You can find me on trust email at catherine.mcdonnell@westerntrust.hscni.net or on twitter @CathNIQI

Athinyaa Thiraviaraj, - Diabetes and Endocrine Doctor

Hello! My name is Athinyaa

I am a diabetes & endocrine doctor. I also happen to have a keen interest in improving patient care and experience in health care settings.

I completed the Scottish Quality & safety Fellowship @SQSFellowship (cohort 9) in 2017.

My interests within QI are in exploring innovative ways of engaging with patients and fostering staff well-being & #JoyAtWork. I am currently undertaking training in coaching and developing my skills to apply QI at a mesosystem level on care pathways.

The inspiration (or ‘the why’) for choosing health care as my profession came due to a passion for ‘making lives better’ and contributing in meaningful ways to community & humanity. While my role as a physician fosters this desire in me, the reach and spread was only going to extend to those who I provided direct medical care for. Quality improvement and leadership skills have positively increased the scope of my influence. The ‘why’ that inspires me remains the same and has now guided me to engage with the StepWest team at Western Trust.

My roles include PostGraduate QI lead, and faculty on Trust QI programmes like SQWest and clinical coach on the Flow Coaching Academy (@FCA_NI). My interests outside work are baking and sewing!

Specialist area of interest: QI methodologies, Core Data principles, Co-production & Co-design with patients, Technology in QI

You can find me on trust email at Athinyaa.thiraviaraj@westerntrust.hscni.net or Twitter @athinyaa

Christine McLaughlin, - Head of Learning, Development and Governance, Women and Children's Directorate

Hello! My name is Christine McLaughlin

A social worker by profession, I am a Head of Service for Learning, Development and Governance in Women and Children’s Directorate.

Quality, safety and service user experience are at the heart of all we do and it is important to continue to challenge ourselves on an ongoing basis, to improve how we do our work. Your wiliness to get involved   in this Programme is an indication that you embrace that commitment.

My knowledge of Quality Improvement has been shaped by involvement with a Regional Quality Improvement for Social Work Programme, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, staff learn about improvement methodology and apply the learning in practice, through leading an improvement project in their Organisation.

Undertaking training in coaching skills has nurtured capacity in motivating others through creating a climate where staff want to do their best.

For the past year I have been training as an Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) Improvement Advisor and my learning continues.

Specialist areas of interest: Team, Human Factors, Culture and Leadership

You can find me on trust email at Christine.mclaughlin@westerntrust.hscni.net

Ursula McCollom -Head of Midwifery Patient Care and Standards

Hello! My name is Ursula McCollom

I am the Head Of Nursing and Midwifery Patient Care and Standards in the WHSCT.

I am responsible through example, support and facilitation to develop the nursing and midwifery workforce to work to safe, effective evidence based care. From my first days as a student nurse I had an enquiring mind, asked why and asked over the years is there another way to do this that would be better for our patients?

Over the years this has led me to develop skills that allow me to encourage multidisciplinary staff to consider if there were changes that needed to be made and how best to introduce and test those changes to prove the benefit.

In 2008 I attended a collaborative that aimed to reduce cardiac arrest calls to general wards in acute Hospitals and received my 1st QI training.   From that day I have been passionate about not only reducing cardiac arrests but also the identification of deteriorating / at risk patients to get help at the right time from the right person.   I realised that to change systems there needed to be realistic goals, collaborative working, to take it one step at a time, assume nothing, be prepared to test changes and measure and chart the journey. Oh and very definitely that some changes don’t work and failure is not a disaster. In my current post I also have responsibility for ongoing improvement work related to our Key Performance Indicators and lead on improvement work on falls and NEWS.  I have facilitated and coached some very committed staff across the Trust over many years to introduce changes and new concepts and have been humbled on more than one occasion by their passion and commitment to make a difference to and provide best care to their patients and service users.

In 2018 I have been trained as an Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI) Advisor and can’t wait to share some of the skills that I’ve learned to support our 1st group of SQW staff with their projects.

Specialist areas of interest: Human factors, Engaging staff, QI Methodologies, Data and charts.

You can find me on trust email at Ursula.mccollum@westerntrust.hscni.net or twitter@UrsulaCollum

Service User/Carer contacts

Laura Collins - Service User/Carer Contact

My name is Laura Collins. I have worked in HSC, third level education, and the community & voluntary sector.

I have also been a full-time family carer for the past 36 years, usually caring for two members of my family at a time. I have formally championed the support needs of family carers (unpaid) over the past 25 years at local, regional and national levels.

My introduction to QI came in the guise of co-designing the first Autism pathway for NI (2009-12), which used Triple Aim principles. Over the past 4 years, as a carer representative, on the East Belfast Integrated Care Partnership’s Acute Care at Home group, I have experienced being part of an IHI prototype. I am currently a team member of a SQB3 cohort, developing a pathway to support earlier carer recognition in the Belfast Trust area.

I joined the Q community in 2016, the Improvement Institute’s Design Collaborative and the Critical Friends Group in 2017. I co-chair the PPI (Personal & Public Involvement) Community of Practice and attend three other communities, to ensure that the “lived-experience” perspective is an integral part of our regional HSCQI ecosystem.

I volunteer my carer expertise on service improvement and transformation groups at Trust, Board and DH levels. You can contact me on lauracollins56@hotmail.com

N Ireland Ambulance Service

Sarah Williamson - Transformation and Organisational Change

Sarah Williamson is the Transformation and Organisational Change Programme Manager at NIAS. She has led on a range of Improvement projects both in NIAS and in her previous jobs in Belfast Trust. She has a Masters in Healthcare Leadership and Management and is just finishing the Generation Q Fellowship at the Health Foundation through which she has been working towards a Postgrad in Leadership for Quality Improvement. She is keen to empower frontline staff in their improvement projects.

Connect with other QI networks
  • The Q Initiative Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK, led by the Health Foundation and supported and co-funded by NHS Improvement.
  • Safety Forum The HSC Safety Forum was created in 2007 to support HSC organisations as they strive to provide safe, high quality care.
  • Northern Ireland Simulation and Human Factors Network – an informal organisation that will meet to further the interests of both providers and participants in simulation based education and human factors training in healthcare