Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 4 December 2017

In my personal blog, I'll keep you up to date on what's happening at the Trust, sharing what I think we're doing well and what we can improve.

Fiona Dalton, chief executive

Over the past month we've been spending time as an executive team with each of the care group management teams to hear about their plans and aspirations for next year.

These are mostly very inspiring meetings – it’s a pleasure to hear clinical and non-clinical leaders from across the hospital describe with enthusiasm and imagination how advances in scientific knowledge, research and creative ideas could make their services better and more efficient in the future.

These ideas and energy are our only good response to the constant challenge for every health system - trying to do the best for our population, and give our patients the benefits of new medical advances, within the amount of money that our society can afford to (and chooses to) spend on healthcare.

And I think that we can all see that over the next few years this challenge is just going to get greater.

Fundamentally I think that we have to keep doing two things:

Firstly, we have to keep working differently. We have a good track record of this - if you experienced a heart attack a few years ago you were admitted to hospital for six weeks of bed rest. Now you receive a primary angioplasty and go home after 48 hours - and your chance of survival is much better. Of course there are hundreds of similar examples – and it’s easy to forget how much healthcare has changed, so quickly.

In the care group meetings I heard many great ideas about how we can continue to work differently. For instance how we better medically optimise patients before surgery so they suffer less complications and need less blood transfusions. How we can use more enteral nutrition and less parenteral nutrition (better for patients but also cheaper). And how we can encourage all of our patients to 'eat, drink, move', whether they are in intensive care or on our elderly care wards.

But secondly, I think we must also do less of the things that don't add value to our patients. I also heard good examples of this, with people asking:

  • Does this follow-up appointment really help my patient? 
  • Does this patient really need to stay in hospital tonight? 
  • With access to the right online medical records, could my patient manage this condition better themselves?
  • How can I automate the simple tasks to free myself and my team up to do the complex jobs?

By doing less of those things that don't add value to patients, I think we can prioritise more NHS money to the things that really do add value - including for instance new groundbreaking interventions such as mechanical thrombectomy for stroke or the new immunotherapies for cancer. And we can try to make sure that we are there for patients when they need us, and that as an NHS we invest in mental health as well as physical health.

I am sure that this is the right thing to do regardless of how we organise internal NHS structures. Most health policy experts would say that it's looking increasingly likely that the purchaser - provider split of the last couple of decades will gradually be blurred into a more integrated system - and this means that hospitals such as ourselves will be more directly involved in the prioritisation of resources.

By continuing to challenge ourselves to deliver value-based healthcare (always asking “does this add value to the patient?”) I believe we can prepare ourselves for this future.

Fiona Dalton


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

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

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Page comments

I would like to thank everyone who looked after me when I was admitted to A&E on the 30 January from the kindly ladies who drove me to hospital and the staff who looked after me in A&E. I received impeccable care and reassurance. I was advised to see a neurologist and received a call the next day to go to outpatients. I cannot fault the care I received from everyone I came into contact with. Thank you everyone,particularly to the young lady who described herself as a practitioner and all the kind nurses. Thank you again. I too thought that I had had a stroke and would agree that the whole operation ran like clockwork.
Mrs Diane Foley (19/02/2018 11:08:53)
This is to congratulate you and the whole team at Southampton General, my wife was rushed in last Friday with a suspected stroke although it turned out to be Bells Palsey. From the minute we called 999 the whole operation ran like a well oiled machine. Over the next 24hrs she received a lot of care and tests until they were satisfied it was not a stroke. All the staff at all levels were professional and very caring. It is a shame the press and our overpaid news presenters are always so negative but last year when I had my eye treated at the eye department, it was the same amazing experience. I know this level of team work starts at the top so congratulations to you and all those working at the Hospital and for the moaners, yes the car parking is expensive but get over it, what you get is amazing and free.
Dan Turner (13/02/2018 09:16:35)
Dear Mr Callen,
Thank you very much for your kind comment, I'm so pleased that you were looked after so well.
with best wishes
Fiona Dalton (12/02/2018 17:49:53)
Dear Fiona Dalton
I am fed-up with people knocking the NHS,I have recently had treatment for high dose rate brachytherapy,and the care and treatment that I received from beginning to end was nothing short of exceptional, nothing to much trouble, always treated with a smile, from cleaners to doctors, and to top it all ,food of a very high standard to feed so many with different requirements, amazing, cannot praise Southampton General Hospital enough.
I notice that the moaners forget to mention that everything they receive is Free and for their benefit.
Terry Callen (04/02/2018 15:51:43)
Thank you for getting in touch.

Our car parks are run by our Travelwise team. As they are not private, we can provide some concessions and discounts for patients, including those in receipt of certain benefits. Details can be found on our website –

If your appointment has been delayed or cancelled, you may be entitled to a concessionary parking charge - please ask your ward or department to contact Travelwise on your behalf.

If you have any more questions for our team, you can contact us on 023 8120 4133 or via
Travelwise (09/01/2018 12:25:00)
I saw a woman in tears as she spent the last of her money feeding the pockets of the PRIVATE car park companies pockets. While you executives gorge yourselves on fat salaries, shame on you.
m. marx (08/01/2018 14:47:27)
Dear Ms Cox

Thank you for your comment on the UHS website. Although winter pressures have meant that some non-urgent operations have been postponed, this has not been the case for all scheduled operations. All patients whose operation has been postponed have been contacted directly.

For more information on winter pressures, please visit this page:

Kind regards

Madeleine (web team)
Madeleine Horst (08/01/2018 10:47:10)
Ms Dalton expresses clearly the challenges she faces when she tries to do the best for her population within the amount of money society chooses to spend on healthcare.
While "Working differently" and abolishing practices "that do not add value to patients" will contribute to giving patients the benefit of medical advances such actions will not be enough to fund the best care available. Simon Stevens , the Boss of the NHS,agreed with me on this point when he announced in November 2017 that our Health Service is underfunded by 30 billion pounds per year.
Ms Dalton is leaving to be CEO of Providence Healthcare in Canada.Providence is a Faith based, non profit organisation offering boutique illness and wellbeing care to some of the most vulnerable in society.As disappointed patients such as Mr Cooper finally realise that the Emperor has no clothes then sadly it will come to dawn on them that the only way to receive the best care available right now ie today is by credit card or from organisations such as Providence.
I would like to thank Ms Dalton for her work at my local hospital and I wish her well in the future.
D V Rutter. (04/01/2018 11:16:24)
Have you cancelled all elective surgery until February?
Catherine Cox (03/01/2018 11:07:50)
Dear Sir,
I’m very sorry to read your comment. I do spend quite a bit of time talking and communicating with patients directly, but please do email me directly ( if you would like to discuss this with me further or if there is anything that I can do to help a patient that you know about.
With best wishes
Fiona Dalton (28/12/2017 10:44:11)
I'm afraid Fiona Dalton just pays lip service to all that she advocates.She acts in an altruistic manner and writes what she knows the public wish to hear .In practice its a very different story and I know patients that have had a poor biased experience when having to deal with her.She makes the point " make sure we are there for patients when they need us " when in reality she appears to believe that it is beneath her to correspond to patients personally.A very disingenuous lady indeed.
George Cooper (16/12/2017 10:27:39)