NHS Lothian Chief Quality Officer appointment

In order to provide high quality, high value care for people today and in the future, NHS Lothian is creating an enhanced whole organisation approach to quality assurance and improvement.

This is a major undertaking and so, to lead this ambitious and important work, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Simon Watson to the post of Chief Quality Officer.

As Chief Quality Officer, Simon will provide enhanced senior leadership allowing us to maintain the current momentum of quality improvement and to accelerate our progress over the coming years. 

Reporting directly to me and working closely with all our executive directors as a full member of the corporate management team and with non executive colleagues around the board table, Simon’s role will be to build on the good work that is already taking place across the organisation - harnessing and developing the excellent quality improvement skills and networks within NHS Lothian and reaching out to work with other organisations who share our goals.

Simon will continue to look after people with kidney disease, and, in this new role, he is looking forward to augmenting the team which is currently striving to improve the quality of care for the people of Lothian. He will provide leadership and support to those leading the development of our Quality Academy and clinical care improvement programmes.

Through this organisation-wide approach to quality, we aim to equip all of us with the skills and opportunities we need to deliver person-centred, high quality, safe care at the most affordable cost.

Simon will take up his post at the beginning of April. I am very much looking forward to working with him and hope you will join me in congratulating Simon on his appointment.

Tim Davison
Chief Executive. 

About Dr Simon Watson

Simon has been a consultant in NHS Lothian since 2008, based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and providing medical care to people with kidney disease.

Qualifying as a doctor in Liverpool in 1996, Simon then completed 11 years post-graduate training in Nottingham, Bristol and Edinburgh. He spent three years as a clinical research scientist at the University of Edinburgh working under the inspirational leadership of Professor Jeremy Hughes and Professor Sir John Savill. 

His passion for quality improvement in healthcare has deep roots, beginning 25 years ago whilst working in a factory threatened with closure but saved through a relentless focus on quality and value for customers. In his early medical career, he was deeply affected by a high profile and avoidable death of a young man with leukaemia – an event that led directly to his decision to make a major personal commitment to improve the quality and safety of healthcare.   

During 2007-08 Simon’s role as a Fellow in Quality Improvement at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement gave him the opportunity to work with many of the foremost leaders and thinkers in Healthcare Quality and he received advanced training in Healthcare Improvement Science.  He followed this with a period as a Senior Teaching Fellow in Clinical Systems Improvement at Warwick University until his return to Scotland in late 2008.

In addition to working continuously as a doctor, Simon has held a range of quality focused roles both within NHS Lothian and NHSScotland. These have included Clinical Lead for the NHS Lothian/UK Health Foundation Safer Clinical Systems Programme, Associate Medical Director for Patient Safety and Head Coach & Programme Lead for the Scottish Quality and Patient Safety Fellowship Programme. 

Last year Simon moved to become a National Clinical Lead at Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), working on clinical engagement in quality improvement and took on a key role supporting the development of NHS Lothian’s new approach to quality improvement. 

Simon is a proud husband and father of two young children. He is one of Scotland’s worst golfers, least talented squash players and most misguided sports fans. He is a passionate believer in the values and mission of the National Health Service.