The King's Fund strengthens its health care improvement work with appointment of new director

The King’s Fund has appointed a director from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement (NHS III) to lead the organisation’s work with frontline professionals to improve the quality of health services for patients.

Mark Jennings has been appointed to the newly established role of Director of Health Care Improvement at the independent health charity, and will head up a team that works closely with health care staff to influence policy, behaviour and practice. Starting in June, he will be responsible for a number of The King's Fund's key projects, including The Point of Care programme, which is working with patients and their families, staff and hospital boards to research, test and share new approaches to improving patients' experience.

Mark has been a Priority Programme Director at the NHS III since 2005 and leads its work on helping the NHS to improve the quality, productivity and efficiency of care. He has worked as an operational director at an NHS acute trust, and played a key role in the Modernisation Agency's drive to improve patient access and help the NHS achieve the 18-week waiting time target. He also led a joint Department of Health and Prime Minister's Delivery Unit review of the support and performance management needed for the NHS to meet the four-hour A&E target.

Commenting on his appointment, Mark said:

'The NHS faces a huge challenge over the coming years to improve the quality of care it provides to patients within a much tougher financial climate. That's why it's vital that organisations like The Fund use their expertise and insight to work more closely with frontline professionals and services to help them deliver higher quality patient care. I am excited by The Fund's new approach in this area and hope that I can help the organisation reach out to more frontline staff and bring about real and lasting benefits for all those that use our health service.'

As well as The Point of Care programme, Mark's new role will build on the successes of other major projects run by The King's Fund such as Enhancing the Healing Environment, which has now worked with more than 160 hospitals, hospices and other health settings to transform health care environments for staff, patients and their families. He will also play a key role in the organisation's Safer Births initiative, which is working with maternity professionals to improve the safety of services to mothers and their babies, and its end-of-life care programme, which is working in partnership with Marie Curie to evaluate new approaches to help people die at home rather than in institutional settings.

The King’s Fund's Chief Executive Niall Dickson added:

'We are committed to working with frontline professionals and others in the NHS to improve the quality of care patients receive. Mark's appointment signals our new and stronger focus on health care improvement. Now is the time to deliver the ambitious agenda outlined in the NHS Next Stage Review.'

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information, interviews or a photograph of Mark Jennings, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.
  3. Originally qualified as a Chartered Engineer, Mark has been an NHS Manager for over 25 years with experience at national, Health Authority and Trust levels including Director of a major acute hospital. Subsequently, Mark held the role of National Lead for Clinical Systems Improvement with the NHS Modernisation Agency, where he led the development of guidance and systems to help the NHS improve patient flow. He also led a Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit review focused on the patient journey through the emergency care system. Mark was a member of the Department of Health project team responsible for delivering the maximum 4-hour A&E wait. As part of this work he was also responsible for leading the development and delivery of the Making best use of beds programme for NHS Trusts, which has made a significant contribution to the improvement of patient flow and the achievement of access targets. Mark’s later work focused on applying industrial and commercial process and flow methodologies to help the NHS achieve the 18-week maximum total patient journey time from referral treatment for all elective care.  In 2005, Mark joined the new NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement based at the University of Warwick where he lead work focused on helping the NHS improve the quality, productivity and efficiency of care. His role includes publishing the NHS Better Care, Better Value Indicators and leading the Institute’s High Volume Care Programme. 
  4. The Point of Care is a programme run by The King’s Fund that aims to transform patients’ experience of care in hospital. The goal of the programme is to enable health care staff in hospitals to deliver the quality of care they would want for themselves and their own families. We are working with patients and their families, staff and hospital boards to research, test and share new approaches to improving patients’ experience. 
  5. The King's Fund's award-winning Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2000. EHE encourages and enables nurse-led teams to work in partnership with patients to improve the environment in which they deliver care. 
  6. Safer Births is a service improvement programme run by The King’s Fund with national and local partners. It aims to improve the safety of maternity services by supporting frontline professionals and builds on an independent inquiry published by The King’s Fund in 2008.