Return to the homepage

This week, through a number of different events that I’ve attended, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on one of our biggest challenges – the sustainability and resilience of our workforce. Put simply there just aren’t enough of our traditional workforce colleagues to cover all the areas we need; this doesn’t just apply to roles such as doctors, nurses and therapists, it also includes our support services and other professions such as scientists, trainers, administrators and so on.

It’s nothing new to say we have to start thinking differently; creating more innovative roles, making best use of the skills and experience we have whilst also working collectively with others. And then somehow aligning all this with our wider strategy so we remain sustainable into the future.

On Monday I had the privilege of chairing the Surrey Heartlands Better Births launch event where we were joined by Baroness Julia Cumberledge CBE, who led the national Better Births review. This programme is a great example of positive partnership working; colleagues across Surrey Heartlands were successful in bidding for transformation funding to be an early adopter for Better Births, which is about working together to develop new and innovative ways of delivering better maternity services to local women and their families. The event triggered some passionate and interesting debate focused on the notion of strengthening and delivering real change through partnership working.

On Wednesday I was invited to an NHS Confederation parliamentary event (also sponsored by Baroness Cumberledge!) on New Models of Care. It was a great opportunity to highlight the innovation being undertaken through the Vanguards – a series of transformation projects across the country – and to see how others can learn from these. One of the keynote speakers was Don Berwick, former President of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, who gave his reflections on his visits to vanguard sites across England as well as his experience of improving healthcare in the US when he worked for President Obama. It was another opportunity to share ideas about change and innovation, and the need to look at things from a different perspective.

On Thursday we held our third joint mentoring conference for nursing students with the Royal Surrey County Hospital and I was invited to talk about some of the key themes from the Surrey Heartlands Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (our STP). As Executive sponsor of the Workforce programme I was able to discuss the workforce challenges we have and think about how the STP and working collaboratively and differently might help us address them.

Sharing the conference with the Royal Surrey was great and helped us to do our thinking in a shared way which is exactly the way we will need to work in the future; sharing and understanding problems together and working on and implementing solutions together.

Concluding my week, this afternoon I’m travelling up to London to take part in an employer’s video and discussion for the Royal College of Surgeons in my role as member of an expert reference group for their extended surgical team model. This is about focusing on the wider team which includes surgeons, trainees, anaesthetists, nursing colleagues, managers and more, all working together in a positive way to ensure best care for patients including improved continuity of care, better discharge processes and smoother running clinics. You will hear more about this as the work develops.

Finally last night we were able to celebrate some of our own Team ASPH success at this year’s Healthcare People Management Awards in London. We continued our award success by being shortlisted and winning in two categories; employee engagement through our Be the Change programme and one of our nominated rising stars, Assistant Director of HR, Business Partnering, Lucy Purdy. Congratulations to everyone involved and thank you to all of you for your commitment and energy to these and other initiatives. In the meantime, wishing you all a great weekend.

With best wishes,

Suzanne Rankin
Chief Executive



Each week Suzanne Rankin, our Chief Executive, sends a message to staff about events at the hospitals, special achievements, and plans for the future.

We shall be adding them to this section as well as including them on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

From time to time, we shall ask other members of the Trust Board and clinical team to give their perspective on the week in our hospitals.


About Suzanne

Suzanne was announced as the new Chief Executive in June 2014.

Suzanne began her nursing and management career with the Royal Navy, including deployment during the 1990 Gulf War; a spell as Senior Nursing Officer at NATO Headquarters in Lisbon; and Nursing Officer in charge of the 56-bed Trauma and Orthopaedic Unit at the former Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport, Hampshire.

Past Messages