Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 28 November 2014

In my personal blog, I will keep you up to date on what is happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we are doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive

During the week of Monday, 8 December, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are coming to inspect services at UHS. This is a routine visit for them, and we expect about 70 inspectors to spend several days in the Trust, across all our sites, talking to staff and patients, and observing how we provide our services.

This can feel like a daunting prospect, and I know how much work is going on to prepare for this visit – thank you to those involved. But the most important thing is that we are trying to do the right thing for patients, and the CQC visit is just another step along this journey of continuous improvement.

We've been asked to provide a large amount of information to the CQC beforehand, including giving our opinions about what we do well, and what our challenges are. We've said that we think that our most important strength is our fantastic and committed staff, and the culture that we have here of being compassionate and patient focused. We've also given examples of services where we have great patient feedback, and excellent clinical outcomes.

In terms of what we do less well, we've talked about our challenges in managing our capacity, and in recruiting and retaining enough staff in some of our very pressured services. We also haven't been able to invest in our infrastructure (for instance estate and IT) as much as we'd like.

We've tried to be completely honest and this is exactly what I urge all staff to be. I know what excellent care we provide for patients every day – and if you're a member of staff please do talk to the CQC about what you are proud of in your service. Equally, I know you will be honest about the challenges, and what your team, and the Trust, is trying to do to address them.

I believe that one of the great things about the culture at UHS is that we are open to feedback and external views. This is a real opportunity for us to do this, as the CQC inspectors are almost all practising clinicians from other hospitals and they will be able give us valuable insights.

Some people have asked me if we will be given more money if the CQC find issues here. Unfortunately the answer is no. But I hope that their visit will genuinely help us continue to do things better for patients. It's in this spirit that I would urge everyone to welcome the CQC, and the critical appraisal that they will bring.

Fiona Dalton


We welcome your comments on this blog.

If you have any specific concerns or need advice about the care you have received at our hospitals, please contact our patient support services on 023 8120 6325 or

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Page comments

Hello Fiona,

firstly I would like to say a great big thank you to you and all the NHS staff at Southampton General Hospital for looking after me when I had my brain tumour removed in Wessex neurological dept 3 months ago. I have autism and sensory processing disorder so the stay was very stressful for me, but all the staff were absolutely 100% lovely. They were all kind, considerate, caring and catered towards my autism needs, I couldn't have chosen a better team to look after me when being in such a vulnerable state.

I hope the inspections go well, I appreciate it must take weeks of planning; I salute you and the team for the effort it has taken to manage this inspection.
Luke Hayne (09/12/2014 00:44:20)