Five minutes with Chris Dann, Divisional Manager for Surgical Specialities Division at UCLH

Each month, we spend five minutes with one of the impressive professionals that call Harley Street home. This month, it's over to UCLH to meet Chris Dann, Divisional Manager for Surgical Specialities Division

Can you tell us a little bit about your work at:

I work as the Divisional Manager for Surgical Specialities Division (SSD) at UCLH. This role includes the operational management of University College Hospital at Westmoreland Street Hospital where we provide specialist urological and thoracic surgical services.

Describe your average day.

No day is the same!  Although I base myself at the Westmoreland Street Hospital, I have staff and services working across seven UCLH sites and we provide a full range of emergency, diagnostic and elective care on behalf of patients from our local boroughs and across the UK.

A key part of my role is being visible to our team of matrons, general managers and clinical leads who run our services – this means I have to work flexibly and respond to challenges as they arise.

I am also the operational lead for Trauma & Orthopaedics for North Central London and also take a leading network role for arranging access for hospitals services in the independent sector.  Therefore, much of my time is dedicated to working with colleagues in other NHS and private hospital organisations – many of which are located close to Westmoreland Street.

How did you get to where you are today?

Whilst at university, I worked a number of temporary assignments in my local hospital and I learnt how hospitals work.  I really enjoyed the buzz of working in an acute hospital setting and therefore continued on this path when I finished my degree.

I have been fortunate enough to hold managerial roles across a number of specialities in large teaching hospitals such as St. Mary’s, Royal Free, Kings and of course UCLH. During this time, I also completed a Master’s in Business Management.

My passion has always been working in surgical disciplines and I was proud to join Surgical Specialities as Deputy Divisional Manger in 2015 and be promoted to Divisional Manager in 2020.

How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?

Like all hospital organisations, Covid-19 had a real impact on Surgical Specialities and UCLH as a whole.

To keep hospitals open and safe, we implemented a range of infection control measures and we had to change how we use different ward areas, theatres and buildings – this impacted on efficiency.

For University College Hospital at Westmoreland Street, we focused on maintaining the site as an elective hospital and brought patients in for surgery that had been appropriately tested for covid-19 in advance – this meant that we were able to keep operating throughout the pandemic by preventing outbreaks.  During peak surges, we offered support to other departments and NHS Trusts to ensure that the most clinically urgent patients, such as those with cancer were prioritised for treatment.

The pandemic has of course impacted us in many different ways and in particular, we need to be sensitive to the impact the past two years has had on our workforce, whilst also consider how we can reduce waiting times for surgery.

There have been some positive changes; we have been forced to work differently and realised efficiencies through virtual working and the ability to hold large meetings without bringing people to one location.

What do you like most about being based on Harley Street?

My office is based on Wimpole Street – I particularly enjoy the easy access to the vibrant Marylebone High Street with its range of independent shops, restaurants and cafes.  In addition, the office is a short walk from Oxford Street or Regent’s Park in the opposite direction.

How does the Harley Street Medical Area Partnership support your business?

I am new to the Partnership but look forward to further increasing my network of hospital leaders in the vicinity and look for ways we can work together and support each other in the coming years.

Any particular recommendations or hidden gems?

La Fromagerie on Moxon Street has a very fine cheese selection – it is also co-located with a fantastic butchers.  There is always a queue for their pre-cooked roast dinners!

Bonne Bouche on the corner of George Street is a brilliant patisserie and my favourite lunch-stop.

The Jackalope pub on Weymouth Mews offers a great spot for an after-work pint!