Chief executive's blog - 29 June 2018

As part of the #NHS70 celebrations, David French, interim chief executive, reflects on the 70th anniversary of the NHS and shares our plans for the future.

The more I reflect on the formation of the NHS in 1948, the more I realise what an extraordinary achievement it was to create it. It took a brave and focused government, determined to make a fundamental and lasting difference for an entire nation. Before the NHS, if you were ill and couldn’t afford to pay to see a doctor, you didn’t see a doctor. And unless you could afford not to, families lived constantly with the fear of disease and all the consequences it could bring. Taking that worry away from families is surely one of the greatest achievements in the history of our country. I’m proud to work for the NHS and I’m proud that through all the changes we’ve seen in the 70 years since 1948, ‘free at the point of need’ remains at the core of the NHS.

2018 marks not only the 70th anniversary of the NHS, but also 70 years of Southampton General Hospital. Given that parts of the hospital were originally designed in the 1960s it’s of no surprise that our buildings need constant maintenance and refurbishment, as well as new equipment. Keeping up with this work remains an important part of our plans for the future.

One of our Trust’s guiding values is ‘Always Improving’ and having funding available to invest for the future is essential. Currently Trusts achieving their financial targets are eligible for additional national cash incentives. We achieved our financial targets for both 2016/17 and 2017/18 and we could therefore commit to the biggest capital investment programme the Trust had ever seen.

Our major projects for the coming years include:

  • Refurbish and expand the general intensive care unit
  • Expand theatre capacity
  • Refurbish and expand neonatal intensive care
  • Build a second angiography room for the new mechanical thrombectomy service for stroke patients
  • Expand ambulatory emergency care
  • Replace the pharmacy robot
  • Replace the 1970’s mains steam ring with higher efficiency hot water heating technology
  • Replace the original windows at Princess Anne Hospital
  • And much more...

We have also started construction of the new Children’s Emergency and Trauma Department, which is kindly being funded by generous donations to Southampton Hospital Charity with financial match-funding from the government.

2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for UHS.  Through our 10,000 brilliant staff, we will continue to improve services and facilities so we are always ready for the future.

Here’s to the next 70 years!

David French


Find out more about our plans for NHS70 and how you can get involved here.


We welcome your comments on this blog.

If you have any specific concerns or need advice about the care you have received at our hospitals, please contact our patient support services on 023 8120 6325 or patientsupportservices@uhs.nhs.uk

Please note the Trust reserves the right not to publish any responses which are offensive or inappropriate.

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