Helpers’ Tea – Ian Haig

Ian Haig

June 30th 2017

Earlier this month Ian Haig, Director of Operations at Barts, was guest speaker at our Helpers’ Tea, and he delivered an illuminating and insightful address to the Guild’s volunteers.

Trustees Ian McDowell and Sir Marcus Setchell introduced proceedings and paid tribute to the work and dedication of our volunteers, as well as surprising the audience by revealing that Ian [Haig] plays the trombone in his spare time and had appeared with his band on Britain’s Got Talent!

Opening his remarks, Ian echoed the introductory words by thanking the Guild volunteers for “providing an outstanding service” to the Hospital, and added that one of his “favourite days at Barts was accompanying Christine [Ashby, Guild Shop Manager] on the trolley round the wards, and amazingly no one on the staff recognised me as I was selling them cans of Coke!”

Ian has been at Barts since 2015 and a member of the senior management team that has seen a complete transformation in the nature and structure of the Hospital. The formation of Barts Heart Centre was one of “the biggest structural changes that’s occurred within the NHS during the past decade.”

Subsequently, the closure of the QEII building and move into the KGV building has been completed, which required “a lot of work from many colleagues”, and now the Hospital boasts two leading centres of excellence – the St Barts Cancer Centre and the Barts Heart Centre. The ‘St’ has been added to the cancer centre’s name to “reflect the treatment that is undertaken at St Bartholomew’s Hospital rather than cancer treatment that occurs across the Trust.”

Ian spoke with pride when he reported that “staff vacancy rates are now at 5%, down from 25%”, that “waiting times for operations are now under the ‘constitutional’ 18-week period” and noted that “staff at Barts do a tremendous job under extreme scrutiny.”

This year the focus has been fixed upon the five-month build-up to the Care Quality Commission’s inspection of the Trust, which occurred in May. Unfortunately the preparation work was interrupted, as everyone is aware, by three IT system failures, including the global cyber-attack that affected not only the NHS but organisations worldwide.

Ian closed his remarks by announcing that the Barts Charity had recently awarded funding to Steve Edmondson, chief surgeon, for robotic cardiothoracic surgery, and that the Barts Heart Centre is now the largest provider of cardiac imaging in the world.

We are extremely grateful to Ian for taking the time to share details of his Barts career, and for providing an update about the Hospital that we all care about so deeply. Volunteers then enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea of sandwiches and cakes in the James Gibbs flat thanks to Josephine Wellington and her team of creative chefs.

Photos: Phil Moss

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