Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 23 June 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

I know that many of us try very hard to take the patient’s point of view in everything that we do – but of course patients are not people separate to us - often we actually are the patients too.

With over 10,000 people working here we are frequently looking after members of staff, or their relatives, and I’ve noticed that with increasing frequency individual members of staff are contacting me to tell me about their experiences of being a patient, or the relative of a patient.

This is very useful feedback, and a real step beyond the standard staff survey question of ‘would you recommend the hospital as a place to be treated?’. I’ve found that UHS staff usually have informed and incisive views, and their experiences of what went well, and what could have gone better, are very helpful. Identifying points (even very small matters) that weren’t quite right is an important part of the mission to always improve.

A small number of these members of staff who contact me have had bad experiences, and as with every patient who is unhappy with their care, we need to take their feedback seriously and with humility. It’s so important that we properly investigate and learn from every poor experience.

But the overwhelming majority of staff who contact me have had very good care,  and they are emailing to ask me to recognise and thank their colleagues for doing such a good job. Of course it’s a pleasure for me to do this! I often reflect on how hard it is to say ‘thank you’ enough in healthcare, and it is so good to see a culture where people are properly thanked for their care, skill and compassion. I see saying ‘thank you’ as such an important part of living our value ‘working together’ and I am determined to use these two words as often as they are justified.

I am also very aware that healthcare professionals usually have (rightly) very high standards– so a ‘thank you’ from a colleague is particularly valuable and worthwhile.

To give you a flavour of the feedback that I receive, these are some short extracts taken (with permission) from just a few of the recent emails that staff have sent to me:

“I am writing this email as a way of thanking the surgical team for going above and beyond what is expected of them. As I am sure you are all aware they say nurses make the worst patients, particularly myself who always believes to be right in any circumstance! I was able to see the patient experience from the front door right the way through and can honestly say the experience I had made me proud to be an employee at UHS. I am currently on the mend thanks to the team and just wanted to say the biggest thank you to them all. I will be eternally grateful.”


“I cannot say how utterly amazing my care has been today at UHS and at the RSH yesterday. From the RSH ward clerk and her 91 yr old volunteer helper, the lovely clinic HCAs, and the doctors - the clinic was heaving but I was treated so well even though I had been an add-on that morning! Then today on the Surgical Day Unit. The service was so impressive with its slickness and efficiency. The staff were run off their feet but at no point did that reflect in their excellent patient care. The nurses and HCAs in the green area were amazing. The lovely theatre nurse, the very impressive anaesthetist, the retired (!!!) recovery nurse (who was exceptional!) and of course my surgeon all deserve a mention. I'm sure I've missed out many others that made my experience such a positive one!”


“I wanted to write a few lines to thank the whole endoscopy team, for the kindness and care you gave to my father, who was your patient, and my mother who was not sick in body, but was sick with worry.

My father’s appointment was at very short notice but things could not have gone more smoothly.  Your team were extremely professional and patient with them both, and understanding of how people might behave in difficult circumstances.  Your competence and compassion made a bad day tolerable.

It was bad news after all, which we expected, but which made the great kindness you showed my parents all the more valuable, and I cannot thank you enough for it.”


“I feel compelled to write to you to express my feelings about the treatment I have recently received at UHS. I was unfortunate enough to have a tumble off my bicycle and to find myself in the back of an ambulance immobilised on a spinal board and on my way into A&E resus. I am now well on the road to recovery and have had the opportunity to reflect on my care.

From the moment I arrived in resus I can only describe the treatment and care that I have received as exemplary.

In A & E I was looked after with care and compassion whilst a serious head and neck injury was excluded. The nursing and medical staff kept us informed of the situation, answered our queries, provided good analgesia and even arranged for my battered bike which had come with me in the ambulance to be put in the anaesthetic department for safe keeping!

My experience of the day surgery unit was extremely positive. From a patient’s perspective it appears to be run as a very efficient unit which provides a very high level of care.  My journey through the operating theatre and subsequent recovery was also a positive experience. My anaesthetist provided a great anaesthetic which left me with no after-effects whatsoever, I only hope that I am able to offer such problem free anaesthetic care to my patients! In recovery the staff nurse who looked after me provided great care and rapid intravenous pain relief as and when it was required.

I would be very grateful if you could pass on my thanks to all the staff who have looked after me so far. I am looking forward to returning to work in a few weeks time and I'm hopeful I can use my experience as a patient to improve the care that I deliver.”

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.

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