Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 31 December 2015

In my personal blog, I'll keep you up to date on what's happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we're doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive

In our modern multi-cultural society Christmas means a variety of different things to different people, but for many of us I think that this time of year magnifies both the good and the bad in our world, and brings into focus the really important things in life. Those of us who work in healthcare have the responsibility of caring for people at some of the most important moments in their lives, so it’s not surprising that hospitals can be very emotional places at this time of year, and that we see the best and worst of society.

It’s always a joy for me to be in the hospital at this time – I feel so fortunate to have the privilege of leading an organisation that I am very proud of, and of being able to say thank you to just a few of the people here who are working hard throughout the festive period. I also feel very lucky to be able to leave the hospital and to join my family for a Christmas dinner that someone else has cooked!

I am always struck by the positivity of staff across the hospital, and their determination to make the day as cheerful as possible for those patients and their families who have the misfortune to have to be here at Christmas. I always notice the large number of senior staff in the hospital - particularly ward sisters, several of whom talked to me about their personal commitment to their ward, their staff and their patients over the holiday period. It was also lovely to see so many volunteers in the hospital on Christmas Day, in particular helping those patients who wished to attend one of the services in the chapel.

But it’s the patients who are the most important people, and it’s their stories that will stay with me.

I will remember with great sadness the elderly lady on one of the medical wards who was just well enough to go home on Christmas Eve, but had asked if she could possibly stay in hospital for one more day so that she wouldn’t have to spend Christmas Day on her own.

I will remember seeing the presents for both children and their families on the paediatric intensive care unit. I know that some of these were donated by a family who had spent Christmas on PICU themselves in the past, and therefore knew what it was like to have a child critically ill at this time. Their child had subsequently tragically died, and I am always deeply humbled by families who experience such tragedies and still show such consideration for others.

I will remember chatting to a gentleman visiting his wife on one of the neurosciences wards. When I said how sorry I was that they had to be in hospital on Christmas Day, he held his wife’s hand and said to me “the important thing is that we’re together – I’m so grateful that a volunteer driver was able to bring me to the hospital today”.

And finally I will remember the patient I met on D level who told me that she was in despair at the “broken world” that we live in, but that being “cared for in this hospital by people from all nations” made her feel that the world was a little less broken.

Thank you to everyone who is working to make the world less broken, and I wish everyone the best possible 2016.

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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