Council Member Profiles

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Neil Smart

Chair SHTG Council, Consultant Anaesthetist - NHS GG&C

Neil Smart trained in Glasgow, Adelaide and Sheffield before taking up a post as a consultant anaesthetist in Glasgow in 1994. He has a wide range of interests in health technology assessment, quality improvement and procurement. He chairs the Scottish Health Technologies Council, is a European Commission Advisor for Medical Devices and in vitro diagnostic devices, chairs the Dressings and Sundries Steering Group with NHSGG+C, and is an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. He also sits as a medical member with the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service, GMC.

Paul Campbell

Paul Campbell, Vice-Chair SHTG Council, Clinical Director, Clinical Informatics team, NHS National Services Scotland

A clinician with over two decades of experience, Dr Campbell qualified initially as a Pharmacist before switching to Medicine and becoming a Consultant Anaesthetist. He has worked across multiple clinical domains including anaesthesia, neuro-anaesthesia, critical care, aeromedical retrieval and pre-hospital medicine. Dr Campbell has held several clinical eHealth roles throughout the last decade and is the immediate past Chair of the NHS Scotland eHealth Clinical Change Leadership Group.

He now works as Clinical Director within the Clinical Informatics team at NHS National Services Scotland and as a Clinical Advisor to the Scottish Government Digital Health & Care Department. As a committed leader within Healthcare Information Technologies, Dr Campbell is also a Founding Fellow of the UK Faculty of Clinical Informatics and is currently the Honorary Secretary and a Trustee of the Faculty. Notably, Dr Campbell also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the new regulatory landscape of Medical Device Software to the Scottish Health Technologies Council.


Ali Mehdi

Ali Mehdi, Vice-Chair SHTG Council, Surgeon NHS Borders

Ali has been a Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon at NHS Borders since 2007 leading his department between 2014 and 2019. He has led optimisation of clinical pathways including procurement and devices based on clinical evidence, locally and regionally. In the past year Ali has established an international online education collaboration in the areas of leadership and medical education accredited by the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons. He will be shortly completing an Executive MBA from Warwick Business School.  

Safia Qureshi

Director of Evidence, HIS

Safia is Director of Evidence and leads our work on the development of national evidence-based advice, guidance and standards and the assessment of new technologies and newly licensed medicines.

Before joining Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Safia has held a number of senior roles in NHS Scotland including Programme Director at NSS and Director of Quality, Innovation and People at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. At the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service she was responsible for delivering the Jack Copland Centre, the state of the art manufacturing facility and headquarters for SNBTS.

She holds an MSc in Healthcare Management and a PhD in Reproductive Biology.

Ed Clifton

SHTG Unit Head HIS

Ed Clifton is the Unit Head of the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG). Ed’s focus for SHTG is to ensure that HTA is relevant, flexible and timely towards better quality health and care in Scotland. 

Prior to his current role, Ed has gained over 10 years of experience working as an economist within NHSScotland. He completed his qualifications at the University of Sheffield, where Ed was awarded the University of Sheffield Gilbert Prize in Economics. 

Karen MacPherson

Lead Health Service Researcher, HIS

Karen is the lead for the Health Services Research team within HIS evidence.  She is a researcher with more than ten years of experience of preparing Health Technology Assessments, systematic reviews and other evidence-based reports on the clinical and cost effectiveness of healthcare intervention to support healthcare planning and delivery in NHSScotland. During her time at HIS, she has undertaken peer review for the NIHR HTA programme and the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Healthcare, and acted as an external advisor for the NICE Evidence Accreditation programme. She is a board member of the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) and a contributor to the Glasgow University masters course in HTA.

Ralph Roberts

Chief Executive, NHS Borders

Ralph Roberts is currently Chief Executive of NHS Borders, having been in post since April 2019.  He began his career in the NHS in 1988 as a management trainee on the Lothian Health Board training scheme having previously worked as a Local Government Officer in Oxford and volunteer teacher in Kenya. Following his time as a trainee he worked as an Assistant Project Manager and Business Manager at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh before moving to the Borders, where he worked in a number of roles latterly as Director of Operations for NHS Borders. Ralph was successful in obtaining the role of Chief Executive of NHS Shetland from January 2011-April 2019, after which he returned to the Borders.

He is particularly interested in strategic planning and continuous improvement and redesign of services on a whole system basis. Ralph was successful in achieving the role of Vice Chair of the NHS Scotland Chief Executives Group in July 2020 and will become Chair of the NHS Scotland Chief Executive’s group in April 2021. 

Colin Marsland

Director of Finance, NHS Shetland

Laura Ryan

Executive Director (Medical Director) OOH GP, Scottish Patient Safety Fellow

Dr. Laura Ryan is the Medical Director with NHS 24.

Areas of expertise:

Laura applies clinical expertise to develop and govern systems and processes which will support, enable and empower the Scottish population to live longer healthier lives.  User lead design and a commitment to meaningful stakeholder engagement inform how best the organisation can support delivery of strategic aims of NHS 24, our partners and the Scottish Government.  She invests focus on optimising the whole system interface between all organisations delivering urgent care, both in and out of hours to ensure quality for service users. She still does regular out of hours GP sessions and has just completed an MSc at the University of Edinburgh on Global eHealth.

Rodolfo Hernandez

Health Economics Research Unit (HERU), University of Aberdeen

Karen Facey

Senior Research Fellow at University of Edinburgh

Karen Facey is a Chartered Statistician and Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health. She works internationally as an Evidence-Based Health Policy Consultant, specialising in health technology assessment (HTA). Karen originally worked as a statistician in medicines development and regulation and was a member of the UK regulatory committee for safety of medical devices for over 8 years. In 2000 she established the Health Technology Board for Scotland, the first national HTA body in Scotland. She has been self-employed since 2003 working internationally in the field of HTA and for over a decade led the development of the resource allocation formula for health boards in Scotland. She was the lead editor of the book on patient involvement in HTA published in 2017 and has helped SHTG developed its patient involvement processes.

Claire Fernie

HIS Public Partner

Claire has had a lifelong interest in healthcare and worked for many years as a research chemist and within the pharmacy sector. About 10 years ago she semi-retired, partly due to ill health, and was keen to use her own experiences of the healthcare system in a positive way. As those with direct daily knowledge of their circumstances, she feels it’s important that patients and carers are meaningfully involved in developing safe, evidence-based health services. She became a Public Partner with Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) at the start of 2018 and joined the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG) a year later.

Being a part of SHTG allows her an insight into new and cutting-edge developments in health technologies and to be part of discussions into their potential benefits to Scottish healthcare. As a lay person, she offers a different perspective to the clinicians, economists and healthcare managers, and values being involved in transforming the very technical language used within SHTG products into plain language summaries for patients and the general public.

Hugh Stewart

HIS Public Partner

Hugh began his career in Further Education before moving to Central Government finishing in Local Government where he was involved in finance, administration, policy, and inter-authority Gaelic Medium Education. Prior to his call to become a Minister in the Church of Scotland. A former Vice-Convener of Crossreach, and Convener of its Audit Committee he is a keen advocate for rural and remote healthcare. A life-long interest in healthcare and technology coupled with a love for people whose views he is always happy to articulate enable him to contribute effectively as a Public Partner to the work of SHTG.

Katie Hislop

Policy Lead, Healthcare Quality and Improvement Directorate

Katie is a the policy lead for Health Technologies and for Scottish Government sponsorship of the Scottish Health Technology Group. She is a career civil servant and has worked across a variety of areas of policy development and delivery.

Mark Cook

Director of Re-imbursement and Government Affairs, Assn. of British Healthcare Industries
Last Updated: 7 October 2021