Fiona Dalton, CEO

Chief executive's blog - 8 October 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


Last weekend was the annual Trust open day, and although this event has been running for many years it was the first one that I have been able to attend. I was immediately struck by how much work had gone into making it all run so smoothly. I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the staff who gave up their Saturday to come in to make the day such a success, as well as all the volunteers who helped, and everyone from partner organisations like Cancer Research UK and the ambulance services.

It was a pleasure to see so many colleagues walking around the hospital, many with their family and friends. One doctor said to me "I've brought my daughter so that she can see why her mother is never at home!" I absolutely recognise the tension in constantly trying to juggle different parts of our lives – it’s really tricky and I certainly know on occasions I have failed my family and friends because I've been trying to do the right thing at work.

But last Saturday was an opportunity to bring two worlds together, just for a few hours. The younger members of my own family loved the helicopter and "being a scientist" with the Cancer Research UK team (particularly because there were sweets on offer for doing each test!). They thought the brass band was great, and they loved playing computer tennis in the respiratory area and climbing into the ambulances outside the front entrance. They also really enjoyed the oasis of calm that was the chapel; trying out the meditation maze and making bead bracelets with some friendly volunteers.

Personally I was just sad that I didn't have the chance to get round every area and am looking forward to going to the parts that I missed next year.

To me though the best thing was seeing so many members of the public learning more about UHS. This is their hospital - they pay for it through their taxes - and I very much hope that the open day will encourage them to feel proud of UHS, consider applying for a job here, and feel reassured that if they ever need us we will be here. 

I recently received a thank-you letter from a woman who had had a heart attack, and had been admitted to UHS and received a cardiac stent within the hour. Of course this is now standard practice, (and best practice across the world) but I am still amazed by the ability to insert a deflated balloon through an artery in the wrist, up into the heart, to unblock a blood vessel and save someone's life.

This individual was very grateful for every team's involvement in her care but in particular she wrote:

"All this superb treatment...is provided without me having to worry about the cost of it all"

This was the dream of Aneurin Bevan 66 years ago. And whilst he might not have been able to envisage the concept of primary percutaneous coronary interventions for heart attacks, I think that he would still recognise and be very proud of what we try to do everyday in the NHS.

Fiona Dalton

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