Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 27 December 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


I remember very clearly the first time that I came into a hospital on Christmas Day. I was a young teenager and my mother had just had surgery for colorectal cancer. Whilst I didn't really understand the severity of the situation - and I certainly didn't understand anything about hospital organisation or scheduling (I don't think the 62 day target existed then!) - I do remember thinking that it must be quite urgent to mean that my mother had to be in hospital on Christmas Day.

So I remember what it feels like to be a relative in hospital at this time of year, and I will always feel grateful to that surgical team many years ago who looked after my mother.

I believe that there are some moments that define an organisation, and for hospitals Christmas is one of them. And as I walked round on Christmas morning, and talked to staff, patients and relatives, I felt that I saw the true spirit of the hospital. I saw it in the cheerfulness of everyone who was at work, and everyone's small efforts to make it a nicer day for our patients. I saw it in the large numbers of senior nurses and consultants who were here, leading their teams. It was demonstrated by the cleaners who told me how pleased they were that there were some empty beds for a change, so that they could do some extra deep-cleaning. And in the way that other teams were trying to support those services under particular pressure, such as paediatric intensive care.

But sadly I didn't get to talk to everyone. So I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone across the Trust a happy Christmas.

It's a privilege to provide a service which people across Wessex rely on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - but we all also have personal lives and sometimes it doesn't feel like a privilege to be at work and miss being with your family and friends! So I also wanted to say thank you to everyone for working so hard all year, including those times commonly referred to as "holiday periods".

Fiona Dalton

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