Executive Team

Information about our senior executive team members is available below.
To find out more about how the GIRFT programme is structured, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Professor Tim Briggs CBE

Chair of GIRFT and National Director of Clinical Improvement for the NHS

After his senior registrar training he was appointed to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital as Consultant in 1992. His specialist interests are in orthopaedic oncology as well as surgery to the hip and knee. He was Medical Director at the RNOH for 15 years, ensuring a re-build and was President of the British Orthopaedic Association in 2014.

He was appointed as National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency for the NHS in September 2015 and has been asked to lead and roll out his GIRFT methodology, developed in orthopaedics, across all surgical and medical specialties within the provider network.

Professor Briggs was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to the surgical profession.

Rachel Yates

Managing Director and Deputy SRO of GIRFT, Director of National Orthopaedic Policy Unit

Rachel is Director of the National Orthopaedic Policy Unit based at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), UK’s leading specialist orthopaedic hospital, as well as Managing Director and Deputy SRO of the GIRFT Programme. With 20+ years’ experience in policy development, public affairs, project management and corporate journalism, Rachel was a key member of the National Spinal Taskforce and was an affiliate member of the Specialised Orthopaedics Clinical Reference Group (CRG) as it advised on the transfer of specialised commissioning to NHS England.

Co-founder of the GIRFT programme alongside Professor Tim Briggs and Rob Hurd, Rachel is also Chief Officer of the Specialist Orthopaedic Alliance and Director of the National Orthopaedic Alliance Vanguard Project.

Rachel holds a BA Hons in History of Art/Anthropology from Oxford Brookes University and a postgraduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.

Rob Hurd

CEO of the RNOH and joint SRO of GIRFT

Rob has 25 years NHS Senior Management experience, 12 years at Board level and nine years as Chief Executive of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust.

He led the turnaround of the RNOH from a `double weak’ rated Trust (2008) to nine outstanding ratings from the CQC (2014). The internal culture and external engagement of the organisation has been transformed.

In partnership with Professor Briggs he established GIRFT linked to the Vanguard Programme and the National Orthopaedic Vanguard. It also had academic validation as a formal NIHR CLAHRC evaluation project and publication in BMC Health Services Research (and highly commended HSJ Award).

Nicola Joyce

Director of Operations

Nicola is Director of the GIRFT Review team responsible for the delivery of the project’s clinically-led reviews and deep dives. Previously Senior Project Manager and Project Manager, Nicola is one of the founder members of GIRFT and has been part of the project since its inception, and has helped model the methodology that is being used to run this national programme.

She has been on nearly all the orthopaedic deep dives with Professor Briggs and has seen first-hand the variation in clinical practice across the board. She is passionate about the work her and her team are doing to help reduce unwarranted variation and improve patient care across all the work-streams.

Nicola has been working in the NHS since 2006 where she joined Oxford University Hospitals providing project support in a public consultation relating to the Horton Hospital in Banbury. Following this, she helped support the trust through its Foundation Trust application before moving to another trust.

Ruth Tyrrell

National Delivery Director

Ruth has worked at GIRFT for more than two years and joined the team from an organisational development and service improvement background. She is now National Delivery Director.

She is a Fellow of the CIPD with more than 14 years’ board-level experience within the NHS. As an effective board and executive team member, she has contributed to wider business strategy, particularly through her knowledge of Lean/Six Sigma/continuous improvement methodologies, which she has applied to HR&OD, achieving significantly reduced sickness absence levels, improved staff engagement ratings, performance-related pay progression and succession planning.

Ruth joined the NHS as a management trainee and has worked in the North West, Wales and West Midlands, with membership of numerous regional and national groups.

A member of the Neuro Leadership Institute and a qualified coach, Ruth is currently developing new approaches to performance management and engagement in change, using insights from the growing field of neuro psychology and behavioural economics and their application to organisational change, as part of the GIRFT programme.

Will Pank

Director of Policy and Engagement

Will joined GIRFT in 2017, originally as Head of the National Team and now overseeing policy, stakeholder engagement and communications as Director of Policy and Engagement.

Will has a background in NHS programme management and strategy, working in both commissioner and provider services. He joined GIRFT from the Oxford Academic Health Science Network where he was responsible for setting up and overseeing a series of clinically-led networks working to deliver improvements to patient care across nine provider trusts.

With qualifications in project and programme management, his NHS career over the past 17 years has involved creating programmes and structures to maximise improvement opportunities, as well as brokering partnering agreements with various NHS organisations, agencies and universities.

Will is passionate about fostering a culture of measuring and demonstrating improvement in the NHS, and working with clinicians to build on best practice wherever it is found.