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Trust chief exec releases new book

NHS chief executives have a shorter shelf life than most premiership football managers.

So why would Dr Stephen Dunn CBE, a former high flyer in the Department of Health and a key architect of many major healthcare policies, take a job as chief executive at his local hospital?

Stephen, chief executive of the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), takes readers on this journey in his new book, An NHS baptism of fire: My first years as an NHS chief executive.

Chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Dr Stephen Dunn CBE Credit Tom Soper Photography

Published on Amazon Kindle, the read sets out how, when Stephen took up the reigns of WSFT in November 2014, he was headed for one of the most challenging winter periods the NHS had ever seen – alongside the run up to a pivotal election in which the health service would be centre stage.

With personal reflections on the care of his own family, from the sad death of his father-in-law to the life-saving surgery of not one, but both his children, Stephen also tells through a series of blogs and CEO reports how WSFT has risen to become one of the best hospitals in the NHS.

Stephen said: “So many people ask me what it’s like to be the chief executive of an NHS trust.

“My purpose with the book was to reflect on that, and set out my first few years through reproducing the blogs I written to staff, and my chief executive reports which were shared with my Board.

“I hope it conveys my experiences, the highs and the lows, and my thoughts on whether small hospitals can have a bright future – a topic that remains under much national debate.”

This isn’t Stephen’s first foray into book writing; an economist by background, he already has two published works to his name on the economics of John Kenneth Galbraith, on which he is considered an international authority. This new venture however sees him explore a subject close to many people’s hearts – the NHS and the staff that keep it running.

Stephen has dedicated the book to, as he cites, ‘our fantastic staff who deliver fantastic care to our community’.

“I felt it important to acknowledge the work of the amazing NHS staff who we are lucky to have,” he said. “Without them, achievements simply aren’t possible and I hope that comes across in the book. There are so many examples in there of NHS staff going above and beyond.

“That was one of the reasons for donating all proceeds from any book sales to our My WiSH Charity – to give something back to the staff who do so much for me, and for our Suffolk community.”

Prior to joining the Trust Stephen was influential in the Department of Health, and a key player in the Wanless Review, foundation trusts, and the White Paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say. He was also the architect of the innovative Hinchingbrooke franchise and introduced the Friends and Family test into the NHS, which was endorsed by the then Prime Minister for wider roll out and remains in place across the country today.

The Kindle edition of An NHS baptism of fire: My first years as an NHS Chief Executive, costs £3.99, with all royalties going to the WSFT’s My WiSH Charity.

 An NHS baptism of fire: My first years as an NHS Chief Executive can be found here on Amazon Kindle.



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An NHS baptism of fire: My first years as an NHS Chief Executive - Dr Stephen Dunn's new book

An NHS baptism of fire: My first years as an NHS Chief Executive - Dr Stephen Dunn's new book