East of England - Clinical Ambassadors

Aroon Lal

Consultant Renal Physician

Dr Aroon Lal has been a Consultant Renal Physician at Basildon & Thurrock University Hospital since 2000. He qualified from Kings College London in 1988 and went on to train in the North East Thames region, undertaking research into cellular signal transduction at University College London that led to the award of his PhD in 1999.

Since 2016, he has been the Trust Associate Medical Director for Improvement and has helped to develop a local curriculum to build improvement capacity within the Trust and more latterly across the Essex STP. He is the Clinical Lead for the Deteriorating Patient programme which has reduced the cardiac arrest rate within the Trust by over 50% in the last 2 years.

Aroon has an extensive background in education and training: at University College London, he is the Academic lead for the final year of the medical course; he teaches regularly for the Royal College of Physicians and is a member of the College’s Improvement Faculty; he is the secretary for the Specialist Nephrology Examination Board for the UK. He is hoping to use these skills to help teams learn from the good practice of others and drive improvements in care quality.


Five minutes with…Dr Aroon Lal

Q. Tell us a little about your background

Aroon: I’ve been a consultant in renal medicine for 19 years and am really into education and training. As well as being the academic lead for final year students at University College London (UCL) medical school, I’ve also worked with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in faculty development for 20 years and have helped doctors develop their teaching skills around the world, including West Africa, India and Iceland. I became a convert to quality improvement (QI) about five years ago as I saw it as a way of really making a difference to patient care and staff’s working lives.

Q. Why did you join the GIRFT programme?

Aroon: I used to say to my colleagues that the best way to drive care quality would be to compare all the trusts, show them how they were doing and then put them in touch with teams that were doing things well – the sharing of good practice is the bedrock of QI. Then along game GIRFT, doing just that and more. It was an easy decision.

Q. What is your role in GIRFT?

Aroon: In my role as a clinical ambassador for GIRFT, I spend much of my time meeting Medical Directors and teams to help facilitate their improvement. They need support in understanding how to choose the best areas to concentrate their efforts on and I help to facilitate the discussion. I also present GIRFT to groups of clinical staff so they can understand the process and how to get the most from it. Finally, I’m the clinician that helps explain the jargon to the rest of the team!

Q. What are you most interested/excited about for the GIRFT programme moving forward?

Aroon: I think the closer links with NHSI and the publication of GIRFT data on Model Hospital will be really beneficial. One of the problems with promoting change can be the argument that the data is sometimes ‘out-of-date’. With almost real-time data available, this will no longer be the case and teams will be able to track their progress more easily. I hope that the whole GIRFT methodology becomes embedded in everyday business within the NHS.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Aroon: In some ways, a measure of success will be when GIRFT is no longer needed as a separate team because the data for comparison is readily available and trusts have embedded its use in self-reflection and continuous improvement as part of their culture.


Adrian Wills

Consultant Neurologist

Adrian Wills has been a Consultant Neurologist in Nottingham since 1998. He also has sessions in acute stroke and acute medicine. He was formerly Clinical Director for Neurosciences and subsequently Director of Medical Education in his Trust.

He was a member of the Neurology CRG, Deputy Chair of the Standards Committee of the Association of British Neurologists and is currently an active contributor to the East Midlands Senate via STP processes. He is delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with GIRFT.


Five minutes with…Prof. Adrian Wills

Q. Tell us a little more about yourself.

Adrian: Alongside my roles at GIRFT and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, I’m a PACES (Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills) examiner for trainee medics and a case assessor for the Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries (MBRRACE) programme. I also speak Italian fairly well and Spanish very badly!

Q. Why did you join the GIRFT programme?

Adrian: I joined the GIRFT programme because I feel it offers a great opportunity to improve standards in the NHS. I’m passionate about education and learning, and see GIRFT as a vehicle for trusts to learn from each other.

Q. What is your role within GIRFT?

Adrian: As a clinical ambassador for the EMEE hub, I work with trusts from Mansfield in the north to Great Yarmouth in the East. It’s a fascinating role and offers many diverse opportunities to support services, whether it’s through pathway redesign, clinical or departmental mentoring, or even reviewing litigation claims.

Q. What are you most excited about for the GIRFT programme moving forward?

Adrian: It has to be the way that GIRFT is becoming embedded as part of day-to-day clinical practice. The programme is having a really positive impact on the NHS and I’m proud to be part of it.