Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 28 July 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


Firstly, I wanted to give everyone an update on where we are with the money, because we continue to be in a difficult situation. If we compare the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of last year, we have treated over 3% more emergency patients and nearly 10% more elective patients. This is a real tribute to the hard work of clinical teams across the hospital, and it has made such a difference to the 2,200 additional patients who've been treated.

This extra work has brought in about 7% more income than this time last year (of course income doesn't increase as much as activity, because each year our prices have to go down, as we are expected to become more efficient).

However our costs have increased by nearly 11%, and therefore we are currently spending more than we earn. Some of these increased costs are due to extra high cost drugs, some because of the additional staff we have employed to open new capacity, and some are as a consequence of the quality investments that we have made over the past year. In particular we can really see the impact of April and May, when our capacity issues meant that it was so difficult for us to be efficient.

Recovering this situation is challenging, but I know that we can do it. We are having to take some difficult short-term decisions – for instance, reducing our capital spend – and really focusing on spending less wherever we possibly can. But fundamentally the answers must be around continuing to improve flow through the hospital – so patients receive prompt, high quality care and spend the minimum amount of time possible in the hospital.

Continuing every year to become more efficient, and at the same time improve the quality of care is an incredibly big ask. It would be absolutely impossible without the brilliant people that we have here at UHS, and the recent national staff friends and family survey was a good reminder of this.

This survey asked everyone who works at UHS whether they would recommend the hospital to their friends and family as both a place to be a patient, and a place to work. I'm very pleased that so many staff took the time to answer this question – and overall 85% said that they would recommend us as a place to be a patient and 73% as an organisation to work for. I think this is a good outcome, compared to national figures, but there are some interesting variations by department and there is lots of room for improvement. I won't really be happy until we're at 100%!

As part of this survey, we also chose to give everyone the opportunity to name someone at work who inspires them. We had a huge response to this question, and 1,401 individuals were named as being inspiring. Every profession and every grade was represented on this list, and it really shows that you don't have to be a senior leader to inspire people – that across the hospital staff are noticing their colleagues going the extra mile for our patients, and feeling inspired by this. 

I think we all know that the next few months are going to be very challenging for us, and for the NHS in general. But the quality of people who work here constantly inspires me. In fact, I really struggled to answer this question in the survey because there were just too many people on my list! Every day I meet staff and teams in the hospital who inspire me – by their selfless approach, by their imagination, their drive and their commitment – and because of this I am confident that we can continue to improve, to manage the money as well as the quality, and to be a place where we would all want our friends and family to work, and to be cared for.

Thank you.

Fiona Dalton

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