HAMPSHIRE Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s new chief nurse has spoken of her excitement at starting in her role.

Julie Dawes has joined the trust from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, where she was chief nurse and interim chief executive.

She has pledged to put patients first and to be a strong leader for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals across the trust.

Ms Dawes said: “I’m very excited about getting started and I’m really looking forward to working with staff across the trust. I’ve already spoken to some amazing people and I’m excited about joining the team.

“This is my fourth director of nursing post, so I can bring in my experience of working at other trusts. I really believe in being honest. When I’m talking to colleagues and patients, I don’t want them to sugar-coat things for me, I want them to tell me how it is.”

Ms Dawes praised her predecessor, Donna Green, who recently retired after spending 27 years at Hampshire Hospitals.

“I have a really high regard for Donna Green and everything she achieved as chief nurse at this trust. We have been colleagues for many years and I know that I am coming to build on a really good platform,” she said.

Ms Dawes has been a nurse for 37 years, specialising in palliative and end-of-life care, as well as oncology. Before joining Southern Health she was director of nursing and operations, as well as acting as the deputy chief executive, at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: “My main role is to provide strong leadership for the nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, while working alongside the executive team and being a major advocate for patients.

“I believe as strongly today as I did when I started in nursing that we need to make sure patients are at the heart of what we do.”

Ms Dawes plans to be out and about every week getting to know staff and shadowing them as they work and listening to their views to help improve services.

Hampshire Hospitals chief executive Alex Whitfield said: “I’m delighted to welcome Julie Dawes as our new chief nurse.

“Her appointment followed an extensive recruitment process involving many colleagues from across the hospital and the wider health care system. Julie demonstrated herself to be an outstanding candidate, with a very strong connection to front line staff.

“She has been a director of nursing for a variety of organisations and brings experience of acute, community and mental health services. I look forward to her using that experience to help us deliver on our vision to provide outstanding care for every patient.”