Dr Ruth O’Dowd, consultant anaesthetist at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of only 18 senior health leaders in the UK to be selected for GenerationQ, a prestigious leadership programme from independent health care charity, The Health Foundation.
The fellowship has a track record of developing senior leaders who understand how complex health systems work and who have the skills to transform health care quality and bring about sustainable, system-wide change.
The GenerationQ programme develops Fellows to drive forward and lead improvements across health care pathways.
Commenting on her selection, Ruth said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be selected for this programme, it is a great honour and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s a really exciting time in healthcare in north Cumbria as we develop Integrated Care Communities and our organisation is working to merge with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
“Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do and, as clinical director for patient safety, this programme will enable me to lead from the front and ensure that a system wide approach can be adopted. I am committed to helping lead the development of a system wide Patient Safety Faculty to share learning, and improve safety culture for healthcare across the system.
“I know that to be successful, development, engagement and coaching of others to take projects forward will be key. GenerationQ will help me further develop and share these skills.”
Ruth has been in north Cumbria since 2006 and, alongside her clinical role, was clinical director for Anaesthetics prior to her current patient safety role. She lives near Penrith with her family saying, “this is a fantastic place to live, work and bring up children”
Ruth’s role as clinical director for patient safety includes chairing and facilitating safety and quality meetings. She also initiated and organises regular multi-professional ‘away days’ for staff to improve sharing of learning including patients presenting their own reflections, This initiative was highlighted as good practice by the Care Quality Commission in their last inspection.
Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation, said: “This ninth cohort will be the final round of GenerationQ and we are very excited to see what these 18 talented leaders can achieve over the course of the next 18 months. Fellows from the previous eight cohorts have gone on to make a real difference to the quality of health care across the country, using the skills and knowledge they developed through the programme. These skills are needed now more than ever because of the ongoing challenge for health care to transform at pace.”
GenerationQ provides an innovative learning experience structured around four leadership domains. The challenging programme includes residential leadership forums, executive coaching, action learning in peer groups and the opportunity to engage with systems beyond health.
Fellows undertake an 18-month part-time programme to complete a postgraduate certificate in Leadership (Quality Improvement), with the option of completing an MSc. Fellows will develop personal, relational and technical skills in leading improvement, equipping them to confront the substantial challenges facing health and health care leaders today. They will put into practice a significant improvement project in their organisation. The fellowship is delivered in partnership with Ashridge Executive Education.
For further information about GenerationQ, please visit the Health Foundation website www.health.org.uk/generationq.