Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 1 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


The NHS loves a good acronym, and lately there's been much talk of an 'STP' (short for a sustainability and transformation plan). This is the mechanism whereby each local region of the NHS, together with local government, is planning how health and social care will work in the future.

Our area is Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and our challenge has been to create consensus between the 21 statutory organisations (acute, community, ambulance and mental health trusts, clinical commissioning groups and councils) that work within this geography.

At times these discussions have been difficult, but everyone starts from the same place - trying to do the best that we can for our population, with limited money. So for instance, everyone agrees that patients should be at home if they are well enough to be there, and that they should have access to the same quality of care regardless of where they live.

As part of this plan, we at UHS have agreed with Portsmouth,the Isle of Wight and Lymington Hospitals to form what we have called an 'acute alliance'.

When people ask me what an acute alliance means, I reply that it's what we make it. From sharing best practice to agreeing better communication and transfer mechanisms; from considering how we could best organise services across a large population to discussing what infrastructure we could share. The discussions will be different for different specialties, but this is a real opportunity to create a framework for sensible conversations between clinicians and managers in these trusts. 

An alliance doesn't mean a take over or merger between hospitals. All of the trusts involved are clear that they think it's the right thing for their patients and staff to stay as independent organisations - whilst also being committed to working together in the best interests of patients.

An alliance also doesn't mean that we will exclusively work with organisations within the alliance. Our relationships with other partners are also very important - be they local community trusts, other local hospitals such as Salisbury and the Dorset hospitals, or more distant providers, such as our Children's Hospital partnership with Oxford.

Most importantly, I see this alliance as an opportunity to take our 'hospital without walls' philosophy another step forward, and to continue to put our values into action. If we truly believe in 'patients first' then we can use the alliance to make sure that organisational barriers aren't getting in the way of the best patient care.  'Working together' is obviously exactly what this is - and I also think it gives us a real opportunity to continue to 'always improve'.

Fiona Dalton

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