NHS Forth Valley Assurance Board minutes: 1 December 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 1 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Christine McLaughlin (Chair), Co-Director of Population Health (in-person) 
  • Richard Foggo, Co-Director of Population Health (virtually)
  • David Miller, Chief People Officer (in-person)
  • Gillian Russell, Director of Health Workforce (virtually)
  • Robert Kirkwood, Head of the Office of Chief Executive (in-person)
  • Alex McMahon, Chief Nursing Officer (virtually)

Forth Valley (in-person)

  • Cathie Cowan, Chief Executive 
  • Andrew Murray, Medical Director 
  • Francis Dodd, Executive Nurse Director
  • Linda Donaldson, HR Director 
  • Scott Urquhart, Director of Finance 
  • Annemargaret Black, Chief Officer, Clackmannanshire and Stirling HSCP
  • Robert Clark, Employee Director 

Scottish Government

  • Hazel Borland, Professional Advisor and SG external support (in-person)
  • John Harden, Deputy National Clinical Director and SG external support (virtually)
  • Tracy Slater, Head of Performance and Delivery (virtually)
  • [redacted] (Secretariat), Senior Policy Manager (in-person)
  • [redacted] (Secretariat), Policy Adviser (virtually)


  • Gordon James, Interim Chief Executive, Golden Jubilee National Hospital 
  • Angie Wood, Director of Social Care Resilience and Improvement, SG
  • Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer, SG
  • Patricia Cassidy, Chief Officer, Falkirk HSCP 

Items and actions

Welcome, apologies and introduction

The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the Assurance Board, which has been put in place to have direct oversight of NHS Forth Valley’s Stage 4 escalation for Governance, Leadership and Culture.

The purpose of the first meeting is to consider the Terms of Reference (ToR), including membership, roles, and responsibilities; and to scrutinise the first version of the Improvement Plan submitted by the NHS Forth Valley Executive Leadership Team (ELT). 

Terms of reference and feedback from SG support team

The Chair outlined that the purpose of the Board is to support NHS Forth Valley in determining what steps are necessary to ensure the delivery of high quality governance, leadership and culture in NHS Forth Valley, and in doing so support improvements in performance in out of hours, unscheduled care, mental health, and integration. The group will advise the Director General through agreed governance routes that such steps have been taken. 

Members offered comments on the ToR and made wider observations on the escalated position of the Board. The Chair will review and amend the ToR in line with the comments raised. 

NHS Forth Valley – draft improvement plan 

Members of the NHS Forth Valley leadership team joined the meeting.

The Chair outlined the role of the Assurance Board and agreed to share the ToR with NHS Forth Valley. 

The Chair asked the Chief Executive to present the draft Improvement Plan.

The Assurance Board, and members of the NHS Forth Valley ELT, offered comments and reflections on the draft Plan. Based on the feedback, NHS Forth Valley ELT will review the draft Improvement Plan with a focus on tangible action to be completed before Parliamentary recess in late December.  

The Chair summarised the discussion, closed this section of the meeting, confirmed that SG will share a note of the meeting with NHS Forth Valley, and asked that the ELT provide feedback on the Assurance Board. 

Members of the NHS Forth Valley leadership team left the meeting.

Review and next steps

Members of the Assurance Board reflected on the discussion with NHS Forth Valley ELT and agreed next steps. 

The Chair thanked members and attendees for their time and noted that the next meeting would take place on Tuesday 13 December. 

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