Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 16 August 2016

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

Many of us were profoundly influenced  by Dr Kate Granger's writing, her approach to life and her ability to capture the essence of what is important in healthcare. I know that her untimely death last month touched many of us.

In particular her "hello my name is" campaign - focussing on the importance of everyone in healthcare taking the time to introduce themselves to patients - will have a lasting impact in the NHS.

It's a very simple and undoubtedly powerful concept. Last year I was sitting with a friend who was a patient on F level, and I will always remember how reassured I felt when the nurse coming onto the night shift walked into the bay and said to everyone "hello my name is [] and I'm here to look after you tonight".

It's also something that patients often comment on to me. For instance, a recent thank you letter included these words:

"Throughout it all, everyone I recall, from the most junior healthcare assistant, doctors, to ward staff, nurses, to porters to everyone else adopted the 'hello my name is' approach, explained everything that was going on and what they were going to do, and treated me with utmost courtesy and professionalism."

Of course this is what we try to achieve for every patient. Sadly we don't always get it right and I also receive complaints where patients and relatives say that staff didn't introduce themselves, or explain their role.

So we need to keep improving on this until we get it right 100%, but I also think we should consider how we adopt this approach for our communication with colleagues as well as patients. There are no easy jobs in a hospital - at times every job is physically, intellectually or emotionally challenging - but we can make our colleagues' jobs easier by the way we communicate.

So could we adopt "hello my name is" for staff as well as patient communication?

For instance,

"hello my name is Fiona, I'm the chief exec, how can I help you?"

Rather than

"Hello, this is Ms Dalton. I'm the chief exec and I'm very busy doing remarkably important things. What trivial problem are you bothering me with today?"

Of course the “hello my name is” concept for patients is about much more than four words. It is symbolic of a culture that is empathetic and caring, understands that patients are often scared and confused, and that it is our job to reassure them that we are here to care for them.

In the same way I think using "hello my name is” for colleagues is symbolic of much more. It is a sign that we start from an assumption that the person we are speaking to is on our team, is almost certainly working hard and is trying to do their best for their patients. It’s symbolic of a culture where we say ‘thank you’ a lot and where we try to walk in each other’s shoes, to understand their hopes and frustrations, and to help each other.

Which feels like the kind of place where I want to work.

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

Please note the Trust reserves the right not to publish any responses which are offensive or inappropriate.

Leave a comment

Your comment will be posted on this page.

Rate this page:
*Email: (Why?)
I prefer my comment to be anonymous:

* Please complete all fields marked by an asterisk.