Being a Chief Executive, she said, was “an absolute privilege and, of course, it’s also a challenge”.
She said: “The workforce gaps are significant, financial allocations are not aligned to population growth or the complexities of health and care needs, and day-to-day pressures are constant.
“Don’t let that be a deterrent, however. The people who work in the NHS make it what it is. The constant drive to improve care, to go above and beyond for patients and for colleagues is just so humbling and inspirational every day.
“However, I think that if my 22-year-old self was sat with you today, listening to all this, she might be a little overwhelmed by all the opportunities and difficult decisions that lie ahead. And so my message to her would be this: seek breadth, development and learning throughout your career, seize the opportunities and persevere with the challenges, learn how to build personal resilience and be adaptable to change, but, most importantly, be proud of who you are and be proud of what you do.
“I’m certainly very proud of the career journey that has taken me from where you are sitting today now to becoming an NHS Chief Executive.
“Nothing is out of reach and anything is possible.”