Dr Ross White the new Chief Executive of Holy Cross Hospital has given an insight into his first 100 days of heading up a hospital for patients with severe disability and complex medical needs.
Dr White came to Holy Cross Hospital in February from Mildmay Mission Hospital which is an international HIV charity based in London, but with a UK focus on acquired brain injury (ABI) caused through HIV infection.
Commenting on his first three months at Holy Cross, Dr White says: “I have found strong similarities between Holy Cross and Mildmay. Each hospital has a similar range of skilled professionals and patients with an acquired brain injury. They are both faith-based organisations offering care to people of all faiths and none, have CQC ratings of ‘Outstanding’ and are non-profit charities that have been established for over 100 years.
For most of the patients at Holy Cross, their life and their families’ lives were changed in a single moment – whether it be through an accident or assault, a major stroke or an event that starved the brain of oxygen. “On day one all I could see was severe disability,” Ross explained “but in my first 100 days I have had the pleasure of witnessing patients learning to speak again, others responding to instructions when it was unclear at first if any communication or understanding was possible, and the enormous dedication that families show by visiting day in day out.”
Explaining more about the philosophy of Holy Cross, Ross says: “If an ambulance crew responds to a call and saves a patient at the roadside from dying, then A&E uses all their skills to keep the person alive and then the Intensive Therapy Unit stabilises them. After this, it is our role to give that person the absolute best quality of life from that moment onwards, while at the same time pushing against the limits of severe disability”.
In his first week at Holy Cross, Ross attended the 100th anniversary of the hospital’s opening in Haslemere and met many supporters, patients, families and dignitaries. Over the first three months he has focussed on identifying an electronic patient record system, supporting a development project to create an elevated and wheelchair accessible walkway into the trees, and has increased the number of beds available for patients who require ventilators to help them breathe.
Asked what the next 100 days might hold, Dr White says: “The future is unknown but one thing I can guarantee is that there will be great variety and no two days will be the same – I look forward to discovering what’s ahead.”