Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 3 June 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

When I started writing this blog I promised myself that I would always try to make it real, to talk about what is really important, and to be honest about the problems and challenges that the hospital faces.

April was a very difficult month for the hospital and the wider health and social care system. We didn't get our 'flow' right. So we didn't treat patients as we would want to - patients waited too long in the emergency department for beds, we had to cancel other patients who needed urgent elective surgery, and we couldn't take patients from other hospitals promptly, when they needed specialist services.

The consequence of this was that we also made a big financial loss in the month - we spent more than we earned.

This is a good example of how patient care and the money work hand in hand. When we get things right, patients are treated quickly and efficiently, and clinical teams have the time to give truly compassionate care. The finances also work, and we earn enough money to pay staff and invest for the future in new buildings and equipment.

We simply didn't achieve this in April. However I've always felt that people and organisations are defined not by the fact of things going off-plan, but how they react to this situation. And I have felt very proud of how teams across the hospital and the wider health and social care economy have pulled together, re-evaluated how they do things, and made changes in order that we can improve things for patients and staff in the future.

Changing the subject, the last few weeks have had a real 'charity' theme for me, as I have been able to attend different charitable events for the hospital. One of these events was the hospital charity's fashion show - not the kind of event that I would normally go to but it was great fun.

Then a couple of weeks ago the Wessex Heartbeat charity organised their 'Dancing with Choirs' event at the Mayflower. It was a fantastic effort and it was lovely to see hundreds of very talented local people on stage, singing and dancing in support of Southampton's cardiac unit. I was very touched by the sense of pride in our community for our cardiac unit, and the willingness of people to put so much effort into supporting it. Although I have to admit that I failed the Southampton test by not guessing that the medley entitled 'a Southampton favourite' would be 'When the Saints Go Marching in'!

But the great news is that Wessex Heartbeat have now raised enough money to create the young adult cardiac unit, a ward which will be specifically designed for young adults with congenital heart disease. This will be one of the very few such units in the country, and underlines our commitment to whole life care, and to ensuring that transition from children's to adult services is as smooth as possible. It's a great achievement and I am very grateful to Wessex Heartbeat for their ongoing support.

I wanted to finish this blog with a personal charitable request of my own. In life there are some people who it is very hard to say 'no' to, and I have discovered that Neil Pearce is one of them... And because of this I have found myself agreeing to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower at the end of June, in aid of the Southampton Hospital Charity, (in particular Planets, supporting the hepatobiliary team).

If you would like to join me, I understand that there are still spaces available! But if not, I would be very grateful if you would consider sponsoring me

Thank you so much in advance.

Fiona Dalton


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Well done! It is normally easier to say yes to Neil :-)
Ronny Allan (06/06/2014 17:15:03)