New hospital boss is upbeat about future

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The new chief executive of the trust which runs Calderdale Royal Hospital said he wants to “thrive, not survive” in the challenging years ahead.

Owen Williams was speaking at his first annual general meeting since he took over the position at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust earlier this year.

The former chief executive of Calderdale Council told the meeting, held at The Shay last Thursday, there are going to be a lot of changes over the next three years - including a decreasing budget from £338m in 2011/12 to £320.5m in 2014/5.

But he stressed there are also important factors which will not be changing: “The experience of patient safety and quality isn’t going to change. I want to assure the public that over the three years we are going to be focusing on patients, young and old, their families, their carers to make sure they could have the best experience we could hope for.”

Mr Williams said he had been impressed by staff - and was especially touched by one nurse he found crying because a long-term patient seemed likely to die that night.

“It fills me with such hope that it matters that much. For someone who has probably seen people pass away before, and to still have that feeling and emotion for patients. It’s something I hope that if I’m still here in three years’ time, I can still say that’s part of what we do. It’s really important for me to keep patients in view all the time, and their carers.

“If we can keep these things into the future, I think we will be have a good future and our patients will have a good future too. I don’t want to come out having survived, I want to come out having thrived - and feel our patient experiences of what they have got has actually improved.”

He also paid tribute to outgoing chief executive Diane Whittingham who had been in charge of the trust for the past 15 years. He said she showed “exceptional leadership” and her achievements and contribution to the lives of local people are not to be underestimated.