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A catch-up with Sue Slipman, King’s Non-Executive Director

07 July 2022 - “King's is an extraordinary place - and I am very proud to have been so closely associated with it.”

This month, Sue Slipman, Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chair at King’s, steps down from her role, exactly 10 years since joining the Trust Board in 2012.

As a member of the Trust Board for a decade, Sue has seen the organisation undergo a huge amount of change. We caught up with Sue to hear more about her experiences with the Trust, and what her stand-out memories of King’s will be.

Why did you decide to become a Non-Executive Director at King’s?

“I have a lifetime association with King’s. I was born and grew up in Brixton, so King’s College Hospital was always my local hospital. I’ve been treated at King’s, as have so many friends, and members of my family. I’ve always felt an emotional commitment to the place, so when I decided I wanted to take on a non-executive role, it felt right straightaway. It was a natural choice.

“Being a Non-Executive Director is very different to being an executive one, and making the transition to the role can be hard, as you naturally want to be involved in everything! However, the role of the Chair and Non-Executive Director is to provide support and challenge to the Executive Team, and the thousands of staff who make King’s so special.

“It’s been difficult at times as King’s has had some really tough years – but over the past three years in particular, I really feel the Executive Team have done a great job in improving finances and services, and in creating a future strategy for the Trust, and King’s is now definitely moving in the right direction.”

How did the COVID-19 pandemic change your role as a Non-Executive Director?

“The pandemic was very challenging, particularly at the start, when there was so much uncertainty. As members of the Trust Board, we wanted to know just what stress and demand the Trust was facing and how staff and patients were coping. But I also knew we needed to give staff the support and resources they needed to respond quickly and decisively to an incredibly challenging situation.

“The past two years have been difficult for everyone, but I do think colleagues at King’s have responded superbly, and I know our patients appreciate the efforts and lengths they have gone to. King’s has always had a lot of support from local communities, but this became even more obvious during the pandemic – and we must never take for granted how fortunate we are to have so many people willing the organisation on, and wanting us to succeed.”

What do you think your stand-out memories of King’s will be?

“King’s will always be important to me, even though my formal association with the Trust ends this month. There are so many memories that will stay with me, but the best bits of the role are definitely going out and meeting staff, and the people they are caring for.

“It’s only when you go and see teams – such as paediatric intensive care, or neonatal to name just two – that you see how specialist some of the care our teams provide is. Some of the babies are so small, and the children so incredibly sick – you see clearly the expertise and humanity of our staff. These shine through, and bring hope to anxious families.”

What are you going to do next?

“First, I’m going to take a break over the summer and spend it in the sun in the mountains of Andalucía. I have always enjoyed creative writing, and during lockdown, I finally managed to write a book of short stories, which was published last year, which felt like an achievement.

“After stepping down as a Non-Executive Director, I will probably do some more writing, and look at other opportunities as well – it’s quite nice not knowing exactly what is going to come next!