Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 26 August 2014


In my personal blog, I will keep you up to date on what is happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we are doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive


A month ago, I wrote in this blog about the staff friends and family test – a short survey where all staff were asked if they would recommend UHS to their friends and family as a place to be treated (and as an employer). Many of you have commented to me that there's a conflict within the question - of course you don't want your friends and family to be unwell, and therefore with some happy exceptions (e.g. maternity), you don't want to have to recommend a hospital to anyone.

In the last few weeks this question has become much more personal to me. It's a sobering moment when you hear that a much younger friend of yours needs neurosurgery for a brain tumour. You never want anyone to be in this situation but I had absolute confidence that he could not be in better hands.

And so it happened last week that I was sat in a chair by a bed in neuro, a busy but very well-organised ward. I could see how much the nurses really cared about their patients and I saw them doing their jobs with cheerfulness, compassion and good humour.

Whilst I was there, I heard about many other staff in the hospital that had made a difference to my friend. In particular, because he had an awake craniotomy, my friend mentioned the anaesthetic and theatre team who he had spoken to for the duration of his operation – a team that other patients wouldn't normally be aware of. He was very touched by their care and support.

This made me think about a book that I've been reading recently called "The Invisibles". It's about jobs which don't bring personal glory; jobs which the general public doesn't realise are important unless something goes wrong or doesn’t happen. The hospital example in the book is an anaesthetist, but actually I think that there are many other good examples in healthcare.

In our hospital there are so many jobs which are vitally important but usually 'invisible' to the general public. Most patients never think about the team who clean and sterilize the theatre instruments, the people who book their outpatient appointment, or the financial team who make sure we have money to pay the bills. I very much enjoyed meeting staff within the pathology laboratories recently and it has since occurred to me that often the public wouldn’t know to appreciate the skilled and important work that a team such as this one does.

I've said before that I don't believe that there are any easy jobs in a hospital and I also don't believe that there are any unimportant jobs.

To do clinical care, research and teaching really well we need an increasingly large and dedicated team. Every member of this team is important and whilst some of the team may be invisible to the general public, none of them are invisible to us.

Fiona Dalton

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Page comments

I really enjoy reading Fiona's blog the CEO has at times seemed a distance figure and this brings a personal insight of the day to day workings and recognition of all staff, thanked not just the front of house but more important all the teams in this huge organisation that keep the service running .
K Boog (26/08/2014 12:47:20)