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Chief executive's blog - 24 May 2018


In his first blog since becoming interim chief executive, David French introduces himself and talks about what makes us unique as a Trust.


As some of you may already know, I recently switched roles at University Hospital Southampton from chief financial officer to be interim chief executive. This change came about when Fiona Dalton, our CEO for the past four years, left to take up a new job in Canada. Unusually for a chief executive, Fiona was universally respected, admired and liked across the entire organisation. She did a fantastic job for the hospital, for all our staff and most importantly, for our patients.

Since I came into post I have been amazed at the warm welcome and support I have received from colleagues at both UHS and from our partner organisations. I know we will continue to thrive as a Trust because our success is not because of just one person; it’s down to our staff, the hospital’s greatest asset.

The start of 2018 has seen some fantastic developments taking shape at UHS and hearing the passion and dedication from staff, alongside amazing feedback from patients, has made my first few weeks as interim chief executive an absolute pleasure. I have tried to meet as many staff and patients as I can and I’ve been constantly humbled by UHS staff going ‘above and beyond’ for patients.

International Nurses Day was on 10 May and was an opportunity to celebrate all that’s great about nursing and midwifery and all that our fantastic UHS nurses and midwives do to help our patients. As an example, the family of a patient who had sadly passed away wrote to one of our nurses: ‘My father passed away on the coronary care unit and over the five days he was there, we all remember how kind and caring you were to him. I want to thank you with all my heart as it was so hard for all the family, but he always gave a smile and salute to you when he saw you, and he would brighten up a little and would say how good you had been to him, which gave us great comfort during a very upsetting time.’ These and other stories from across the hospital are what UHS stands for and make me proud to work here.  What made International Nurses Day even more memorable this year was that many nurses on the children’s wards were in fancy dress. There were Harry Potter characters and Disney princesses everywhere, which the children just adored!

The search for our new chief executive is now well underway, but in the meantime, it’s my privilege to lead such a great organisation.

David French

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