Chief executive's blog - 6 March 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 last few weeks I’ve had several conversations with different colleagues about how it feels like we’ve had a very long winter. The last three months have been difficult and despite everyone’s best efforts there have been many occasions when I know we’ve felt that we’ve not been able to give patients the standard of care that we would want to. The numbers of patients needing emergency hospital admission has been higher than we’ve ever experienced and balancing this with patients needing urgent and elective surgery has been very challenging. In many areas we still have high levels of staff vacancies and teams across the hospital have worked so hard to do their absolute best for patients.
At UHS we have a culture of wanting care to be great for patients and striving for improvement – and it’s so frustrating when we can’t give the standard of care that we would like.
I think that there’s a real challenge for us in trying to maintain our high standards whilst also accepting that sometimes we don’t reach them.
We need to make sure we remember that we get really good feedback from the vast majority of our patients, and we should feel proud of this, but also continuing to feel ambitious, and driven to change things for the 1% of patients who tell us that they aren’t satisfied with their care.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to square this psychological circle, and as is often the case for me, some music was helpful. In particular I was listening to the song ‘Human’ (by Rag’n’Bone Man) and its words seemed to speak to me about this.
Firstly it seemed to me to be talking about ‘human factors’ – how we need to try to design systems in healthcare that prevent human error, because we are all ‘only human after all’, and blaming individuals is not the way to make healthcare safer and better.
But secondly it was also reminding us that it is only human to sometimes feel that we personally are not doing enough – and that if only we were better we could solve every problem. But that we should remember that we can’t change the whole world, that we can only ‘do what we can’…..
(Of course it’s possible that he’s actually talking about his relationship with his girlfriend/boyfriend. But that would be disappointing….)
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