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Happy New Year from Chief Executive, Tony Chambers

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I hope you have returned refreshed and re-energised from your Christmas and New Year break. To those of you who worked or were on call over the holiday period I would like to say thank you.

All our services have been particularly busy over the last week. This is not new or unusual. People flock to GP services after Christmas and again after New Year’s Day; many come to A&E and this year was no exception. I popped into the department between Christmas and New Year and was hugely impressed by the calm and professional way in which patients were cared for. What struck me was the humour and camaraderie between staff; supporting each other is often the thing that helps us to cope – I know it works for me!

New Year is often a time for making predictions and resolutions but for a change this year I thought I would share with you some highlights from a speech by University of Western Australia graduate Tim Minchin when he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters for his contribution to the arts.

Tim Minchin, who is not yet 40, has won worldwide acclaim as a composer, lyricist, comedian, actor and writer. In his Occasional Address to 225 Arts and Science graduands, their families, partners and friends, Tim Minchin not only delighted his audience, he inspired. He gave these nine life lessons that I want to share with you because they're worth thinking about no matter how old you are or your position and can be source for helpful reflection at the start of a new year. In short, this is what he said:

  1. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up.
  2. Don't seek happiness. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side effect.
  3. Understanding that you can't truly take credit for your successes nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.
  4. Exercise. Take care of your body: you're going to need it.
  5. Be hard on your opinions. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, and your privileges.
  6. Even if you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don't take for granted your education.
  7. Define yourself by what you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro stuff not just anti stuff.
  8. Respect people with less power than you.
  9. Finally, don't rush. You don't need to know what you're going to do with the rest of your life.

If you would like to hear Tim Minchin's speech in full, or read a transcript, it is available here.

2016 is another important year in the history of The Countess. In February we will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the Hospital Inspection Team from the CQC what a great organisation we really are. We can show off what we are proud of and good at and point to the areas we know we need to improve. 

2016 is also the year that we make further steps to becoming the Model Hospital and also the year that we begin the journey from financial challenge and deficit to financial balance and investment. See my blog from October 2015. The financial settlement for 2016/17 means that now more than ever we need the Courage to collaborate and innovate, to integrate our planning and deliver at a pace that has proved difficult in the past. Our local population deserves nothing less.

On behalf of Sir Duncan, the whole Board team and myself personally I wish you all the very best for 2016 – let us together continue to make a real difference.

Happy New Year


About the Author

Tony image

Chief Executive of Countess of Chester NHS Foundation Trust.

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