The NHS on the Island, including St. Mary’s Hospital, bid a fond farewell to a well known and highly respected colleague on Thursday 25th November.
Sheila Paul, Deputy Chief Executive at Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust (better known as NHS Isle of Wight) has retired after more than 33 years service. Sheila joined the NHS in 1973 as a Medical Secretary and following a break to have a family, returned to work in 1984 eventually becoming Patient Services Officer for what was then the Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Trust. From 1989 to 1999 Sheila worked for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, undertaking a range of management roles before becoming Operational Director for Surgical Services and achieved an MBA during this time.
In 1999 Sheila returned to the Island as Associate Director for Surgery, Medicine and Rehabilitation at St. Mary’s Hospital and in 2005 was promoted to Director of Operations. With the formation of the Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust in 2006 Sheila was appointed Chief Operating Officer, a unique role in the NHS as Sheila was responsible for Acute, Ambulance, Community and Mental Health & Learning Disability Services and Prison Healthcare.
Commenting on Sheila’s departure, Danny Fisher, NHS Isle of Wight Chairman, said: “Sheila is somebody who everyone knows and who knows everyone. She has made a huge contribution to the NHS over the past 33 years, from Medical Secretary through to NHS Director, and has given advice, support and encouragement to so many colleagues, and patients. The Island’s NHS wishes Sheila all the very best for a very happy retirement.”
Reflecting on her career Sheila said: “I have seen some amazing changes in the health service over the last 30 years and worked with some truly dedicated individuals. When I started you had to be nearly blind to have your cataracts dealt with and a 5 day stay in hospital was required. Now cataracts are dealt with at an early stage, only in hospital for a morning or afternoon and you go straight home afterwards. There have been many similar changes in medical science and technology that have changed the face of healthcare on the Island. Treatment is faster and safer with a greater focus on the patient. In the complex world of modern healthcare none of this could have been achieved without teamwork and I am very proud of what NHS Isle of Wight has achieved, particularly in recent years.”
During Sheila’s time on the Island she has been at the forefront of many advances in the development of healthcare. Achievements during her time at the helm have included commissioning the Chemotherapy Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital which has made a significant difference to comfort and dignity for cancer patients; the Beacon Health Centre which provides flexible and convenient access to GP and emergency services at St. Mary’s; and the recently completed Hospital Sterilisation and Decontamination Unit (HSDU). Pharmacy services have further improved safety through the introduction of the ‘Pharmacy Robot’ and the ‘Green Bag Scheme’ which has recently been launched on the Island. Management of one of the top performing Ambulance Services in the country, maintaining the Healthcare Commission’s ‘excellent’ rating for the Island’s Maternity Services and achieving a reduction in hospital waiting times have all been key priorities for Sheila and her team.
As well as deputising for the Chief Executive, Sheila has more recently led the System Transformation Team which is managing the changes needed to ensure the Island’s healthcare system meets the challenges of rising demand. Commenting on the challenges for the future Sheila said: “Here on the Island we know that to meet rising demand and create a viable and sustainable NHS Foundation Trust we must save between £10m and £14m per annum over the next three to four years. These are challenging times for us and our public sector partners but by working more closely together we can deliver services in the most cost effective and efficient way. NHS Isle of Wight’s Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) programme seeks to identify across 19 programmes of work where we can save to invest. The emerging work on the ‘Emergency Hub’ for the Island is a good example of where we can both improve services for patients and save money by working more efficiently. The ‘Green Bag’ scheme improves patient safety and saves money.”
Colleagues past and present attended a gathering held at St. Mary’s Hospital on Thursday 25th November to celebrate Sheila’s achievements and wish her well for the future. Karen Baker succeeded Sheila as Chief Operating Officer in April 2010 (http://www.iow.nhs.uk/asp/news/index.asp?record=612&articleID=586).
Notes for Editors
- For further information contact the NHS Isle of Wight communications team on 01983-552003. Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.
a) Sheila Paul
b) From left to right: Danny Fisher, Chairman, Sheila Paul, Kevin Flynn, Chief Executive