Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 14 November 2017

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

We talk a lot at UHS about our values – patients first, working together, always improving.  We are a large and diverse organisation and I believe that our values are what unites us – whether we work in the neonatal unit or elderly care, in Lymington Hospital or the Royal South Hants, in the finance department or the operating theatres.

Every couple of years we have re-checked that they still feel the right values, and the feedback from across the organisation has been a resounding 'yes' to this. But people have also asked – what do they really mean in practice? How do I know if I have really lived these values today? And what can guide me if I feel that either I or a colleague is not behaving according to these values? 

The importance of these questions has been reinforced to me by some of the recent national and international publicity about completely unacceptable workplace behaviour – in particular sexual harassment. It has reminded me how important it is for us to have conversations about what is ok, and what is not ok in our interactions with colleagues, to be aware of power dynamics, and to speak up when we see something that makes us uncomfortable.

So over the past few months we have been engaging with staff across the organisation to create some more detail about what living our values really means. I was delighted to launch this last week. 

To my mind these values describe the organisational climate that we are trying to achieve – “the way we do things round here”.

I was copied into this email (from a surgeon) a couple of years ago which I think is a great example of “Recognising and celebrating our achievements and those of others”:

“I understand that you are the lead for the Southampton Blood Bank.  Please could I ask you to pass on my thanks to whomever was working on Friday and Saturday last week.

Over the course of two operations we used nearly 150 units of blood products.  Whilst I have the opportunity to thank the team in theatre and ITU personally, I will probably never meet the people who enable us to keep these patients alive while we work.  It occurred to me that we expect blood products to arrive immediately, as if by magic, whenever we need them, with just a phone call!  The team in the blood bank would most likely have been flat out just trying to keep up.

Thank you to all of them.”

I truly believe that recognising achievements and saying thank you is so important. Whether it be face to face, via email or more formally through a FERF or nomination for employee / team of the month, or a Hospital Hero award - that simple act of telling someone that “I thought what you did today was amazing – thank you” can make all the difference to a colleague, and is a vital part of making UHS a great place to work.

Fiona Dalton


We welcome your comments on this blog.

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