Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 22 June 2015

Many years ago I went on a personal development course and one of the things that we were asked to do was draw a spider diagram showing all of the different roles which we fulfilled in our lives. So, for instance, my diagram included manager and leader, as well as daughter and friend. It was an interesting exercise which reminded us all of the many different aspects of our life which were important to us.

A number of people wrote down teacher or educator, and spoke passionately about how, even though this wasn't their full-time formal job, they felt that it was part of all of our jobs to help teach, coach and pass on skills to others.

However, I was particularly struck by one individual in my group who also wrote down learner. She explained that it was a very important role for her because she valued so much the opportunity to keep learning new things in all parts of her life.

I've always remembered this, and often thought how right she was, and how it's a privilege to keep being able to learn new things, particularly at work.

It’s so important that we give everyone at UHS this opportunity. Education is a very important component of the tri-partite mission of all teaching hospitals (the clue's in the name!) - and recently there have been a couple of important moments that reminded me about this mission.

Firstly, we received our latest results for the GMC trainee survey last week. Every year trainees rate each specialty across 14 different domains (such as clinical supervision or supportive environment) – it’s a very helpful insight into services and very pleasing that overall we have significantly improved across the trust, with 32 areas of statistically significant positive outliers (compared to 13 the year before). However there are still areas where doctors are not happy with the training experience that they have and the feedback gives us the opportunity to focus on these areas to improve.

On a fairly regular basis specialist registrars spend half a day shadowing me - I hope this is useful for them but it is definitely helpful for me, as I hear their take on how the hospital is being managed, and what they think we should be doing differently.

However, formal education at UHS comes in many forms and two weeks ago I was honoured to hand out the certificates at our annual vocational qualifications ceremony. Last year 100 UHS staff gained vocational qualifications, in topics as varied as functional skills (English and maths), interpreter awards (by volunteers, to help patients and families who don't speak English), apprenticeships, QCFs and NVQs in healthcare and administration, foundation degrees in health and social care and some gained full registered nurse status via the Open University.

The highlight of the event was definitely two members of our staff telling us their story - how they started working here in healthcare support roles, and through their own commitment and the support of their departments and the educational team, they are achieving their career ambitions. The Open University website features a number of inspirational individuals, some of whom work at UHS, talking about how they combined work, a family life and studying, to become registered nurses.

I am very conscious that our finances are tight, and that we can't support everyone at UHS to undertake every formal course that they would like to do. But I am determined that we continue to give as many educational opportunities as we can, because we know that this is one of the reasons that staff want to work here.

I also want us to value learning in its widest sense - not just formal education. Certainly I feel that I learn something new every day and I hope that this is a common feeling here, and that it is one of the ways in which we can all keep developing, and keep providing better care for patients.

Fiona Dalton


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Page comments

Just want to say how very lucky SGH Is to have Fiona Dalton as the chief executive. She's a very honest and open lady and gets things done. She genuinely cares about her hospital and all in it. She's happy to put herself in front of patients and ask about their experiences, and always answers with honesty. What a great lady to have on our side
Anonymous (13/08/2015 14:57:10)