Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 23 February 2015

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

On Tuesday I was very pleased to welcome clinical staff to the liver education day run by our hepatobiliary and pancreatic team. It was great to see friendly faces from E8 but also to see nurses, dieticians and cancer nurse specialists who had travelled from across the UK to spend a day learning from our teams about liver anatomy, surgery and oncology. It was an excellent showcase for UHS, demonstrating how we can be at the forefront of multi disciplinary working and education.

Whilst I was there I was given a copy of the team's most recent research paper about enhanced recovery after laparoscopic pancreatic surgery (Richardson, J et al., Implementation of enhanced recovery programme for laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy: feasibility, safety and cost analysis, Pancreatology (2015), This very interesting paper is the first ever published on this topic world wide and shows how a formal enhanced recovery approach improves patient outcomes, reduces length of stay and saves money. The average length of stay for patients with this new approach was only three days (whereas a few years ago it was nearly two weeks). Whilst not included in the paper, the team also told me that patients are now getting back to work much earlier – something that is increasingly recognised as very important for patients and their families.

It was particularly good to see a formal economic analysis included alongside an analysis of clinical complications and length of stay. This confirmed what we would all instinctively believe – that focussing on clinical and operational excellence will save the hospital money. I think we all know how difficult the NHS's financial situation is going to be next year. Along with all other hospitals, we will be facing unprecedented expectations for efficiency savings. We are trying to agree a plan which is realistic – and also ensure that we have enough money to fund essential equipment replacements. Fundamentally I believe that as organisations and individuals, we are not defined by a difficult situation that we find ourselves in, but rather how we react to it. So at UHS I believe that we must stay united, accepting that we will have to make short-term difficult decisions whilst also making the big transformational changes that we need to make happen.

To be successful we will need everyone to be ‘on the team’ – and we will need everyone’s ideas, input and commitment to do things differently.

We could easily become dispirited and despairing, but the reason that I stay optimistic and positive is that I am constantly inspired by staff across the hospital. I am constantly impressed by the intelligent and creative energy across the hospital, and the willingness to keep doing things differently in order that we can be better . The pancreatic surgery example that I have talked about here is just one example of the many, many innovations that teams across the hospital are pioneering in order to improve both quality and efficiency.

Fiona Dalton


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