Five minutes with Sir David Dalton

Sir David Dalton has been an NHS Chief Executive for over 22 years, serving at Salford Royal for 15 years. Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust is an integrated provider of hospital, community and primary care services, including the University Teaching Hospital. The Trust has a turnover of £470m, employs 6600 staff and provides local services to the City of Salford and specialist services to Greater Manchester and beyond. Salford Royal is one of only two Trusts in the country to be rated as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission. He was knighted in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for his services to Healthcare. During 2013 he was a member of the ‘Berwick Review Group’, which advised on patient safety improvements for England. He co-chaired a review of the ‘duty of candour’ in 2014 to support openness in reporting harmful events. In 2014 he advised the Secretary of State on the opportunities for providers of NHS care, including the publication of the ‘Dalton Review’ which recommended actions to assure the delivery of high quality healthcare through sustainable organisations.

Sir David is currently developing a new integrated care service (hospital, community, primary and social care) for the city of Salford, with its triple aim of improved population health outcomes, better user experience and lower cost. Under David’s leadership, Salford Royal has adopted a disciplined approach of applied ‘improvement science’ coupled with deep staff involvement. He is now developing the concept of ‘standardisation of best practice’ by creating a digital enterprise and seeking to apply this at scale, across multiple organisations.

He was founder chair of AQuA, NHS QUEST and most recently, Haelo: each of which support organisations in their improvement activities. He established NW eHealth and currently serves on the national review group advising Secretary of State on IT and digital developments. He is the Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network – with the twin purpose of improving population health and creating a new relationship with industry across Greater Manchester. He is a Governor of the Health Foundation.


As Chief Executive of Salford Royal Hospital Trust, what does good healthcare look like for people with dementia?

I believe that good healthcare for people living with dementia is to provide the care and support they need, in order for them to live the life that they want to lead. Dementia United aims to improve the lived experience for people with dementia and carers, but also to reduce the dependence on health and social care. This means that people should remain in their homes for longer, a place that they want to be, with the hospital being a last resort for intervention. Good healthcare is providing a person-centred approach, allowing individuals to take charge of their own health and wellbeing, with the opportunities to have a cohesive health and social care system in place as and when required.


What does devolution mean to you?

I think Devolution means a change, it allows us to take control. Devolution is unique and gives us a chance to improve our health and social care system, but to also look at things in a different way. It provides us with a chance to innovate and do things on a local level which we want to see.

Devolution is a great opportunity for Manchester and it has the potential to be a blue print for the country.

How do you see devolution helping people with dementia and carers?

Devolution presents an opportunity to provide a more joined up approach for people with dementia and carers, which we are convinced will enhance the quality of life they deserve. We want to monitor people’s health, make it easier to connect them to support and enrich their lives so that they are leading the life they want to live. We want to reduce isolation and loneliness and the historic Devolution agreement gives us the chance to make change for the better.


What role is Salford Royal playing in this devolution work?

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust aims to be the safest organisation in the NHS through providing safe, clean and personal care to every patient, every time. Whilst this is our organisational mission, we are also an integrated provider of hospital, community and primary care services, including the University Teaching Trust. This allows us to share and learn with colleagues across Greater Manchester and wider, providing a platform for embedding good practice and continuous improvement to serve the population of Greater Manchester.


Why did you want to get involved?

There is a huge amount of good work on dementia already underway across Greater Manchester and I felt that by working together, we can ensure that every person with dementia and every carer gets the high quality support and care they deserve, no matter where they live. Together, we can make Greater Manchester a world leader when it comes to dementia and Dementia United is something that we can all be proud of.


What barriers have you faced to date in regards to devolution and how do you plan to overcome them?

The dementia footprint across Greater Manchester should not be underestimated. There are lots of examples of great work, by a whole variety of organisations, groups and individuals and one of the challenges has been identifying these within initial scoping. Of course, this is a positive thing, as we know that the will to succeed across Greater Manchester and improve the lived experience for those who live with dementia and carers is immensely encouraging, but we want Dementia United to become a vehicle for sharing and learning, as well as engaging the right people.


What should the wider health and social care sector – and people with dementia and their carers – pay attention to what is happening with regards to devolution? What does it mean to them?

Devolution presents a unique opportunity, it provides the chance for our health and social care to be more joined up, making things easier for us. We should look to work collaboratively and keep the communication on-going. We should be co-producing and redesigning a system that we all want to see and devolution is a vehicle for everyone to have their say.


What can health and social care professionals do to play a more active role in the devolution agenda?

I speak from a Dementia United perspective, but people can become involved. Subscribe to our newsletter, keep up to date by regularly viewing our website (, connected with us on social media and finally, become a Dementia Friend. Dementia United aims to improve the lived experience and if the wider society was able to contribute, this would be a great thing. I strongly recommend that people see what is going on in their locality, look at the respective websites for what their local area plans to do and be active in conversation.

© National Dementia Action Alliance 2021. All rights reserved

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