Chief executive's blog - 9 September 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
When I was woken last Thursday night by a phone call from the duty exec to tell me that a child had gone missing, I didn't anticipate that the hospital would spend the next week and a half at the centre of an international media storm.
I know that everyone shares my relief that Ashya is now in Prague Motol Hospital, where he will be able to receive the treatment that he needs.
At times over these recent, very intense few days, I have been left lost for words, but one of our emergency department consultants has written two 'tweets' that express my feelings better than I could myself.
The first read as follows:
"Of all medical specialities paediatric oncology must be one of the hardest. Young lives, devastating diseases, special doctors and nurses."
He is so right. During the past week I have got to know some of the Southampton paediatric oncology team very well. I have been humbled by their compassion, fortitude and forensic attention to detail under pressure. When their email inboxes were full of personal abuse from strangers, and there were journalists camped on their front door, they were still worrying about how we could do the best thing for a small boy in Spain.
I cannot imagine having to face the reality of your child being diagnosed with a brain tumour. But I do know that in this dreadful situation, I would want the support and care of this brilliant clinical team.
The second tweet said:
"Whilst the country's media looked for its next scoop @UHSFT today continued to provide top quality evidenced based care to its patients."
I know how hard this was on some days last week. Our switchboard and patient support services were overwhelmed with calls from irate members of the public. Our security team were busy trying to manage multiple camera crews and satellite vans, the clinical site team were attempting to maintain control of the situation alongside all the usual challenges of bed availability and our press team were besieged by the media, whilst trying to make measured judgements about how to respond to this unprecedented situation.
And many other people working here were being questioned by patients or the public about this situation, sometimes in a very aggressive way.
But through all of this we still had thousands of patients who needed care and treatment. And I'm so grateful to everyone who kept on doing their job, and making sure that we gave the best possible patient care that we could. Thank you so much to everyone for this. Thank you in particular to people who took on extra work to cover the usual work of their colleagues (like me!) who were trying to manage this particular issue. You have made me proud, once again, to be part of University Hospital Southampton.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the Trust reserves the right not to publish any responses which are offensive or inappropriate.