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A Blithering plan


Blog headlines

  • What White people don’t see
    26 November 2020

    This year’s Black History Month (BHM) has, unfortunately, in its shadow another example of why campaigns like this exist.

  • Primary Care: Why don’t we talk about Racism?
    20 November 2020

    Rita Symons is an ex NHS leader who is now a leadership consultant, coach and facilitator. Her work is mainly in the NHS and she is an associate for PCC offering facilitation, coaching, strategy development and team development activities. She is a concerned but hopeful world citizen and combines work in the NHS with a board role in a non for profit organisation and an interest in writing.

  • Primary Care and the Health of the Public
    12 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What now for primary care
    4 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • Boosting your resilience
    30 October 2020

    The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bounceabiliy” – but bouncing in what way?

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    2 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    1 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article - Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective.

  • Celebrating innovation in eye research
    24 September 2020

    This week Julian Jackson from VisionBridge has shared a report on eye research.

  • Link of the week: Comprehensive Spending Review and Covid-19
    24 September 2020

    This week we are sharing a blog that outlines the funding pressures and uncertainties faced by the health and care system

  • Risk stratifying elective care patients
    10 September 2020

    This blog has been shared by MBI healthcare technologies. As services are starting to treat routine patients those on waiting lists are making enquiries as to where they are on the list, and if they are still on the list.

  • Link of the week
    4 September 2020

    This week the link we would like to share are reflections from physiotherapy students on placement at Alzheimer Scotland https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/

  • Link of the week
    28 August 2020

    This week we would like to share a blog published on the Mind website about being a BAME health worker in the pandemic.

  • Remote clinical triage model
    20 August 2020

    This week we are sharing how a remote clinical triage model was implemented at Tollgate Medical Centre. This has been shared with us by Sarah Portway, a Nurse, and Clinical Services Manager at Tollgate Medical Centre.

  • Can the Community Pharmacy become the gateway to integrated care in the NHS?
    13 August 2020

    The NHS is a continually evolving innovative demand led public service the role of the Community Pharmacist is becoming the public face on a journey to the more responsible public engagement in the personal care of individuals and their family. There are currently over 11000 Pharmacies many are single or small chain service providers, while multiples occupy the urban shopping centres and more densely populated conurbations, the value of the rural High Street can’t be understated.

  • Crunch time for patient involvement
    7 August 2020

    There are new challenges for primary care, which could really do with patient input. Mike Etkind, chair of a PPG and founding member of his PCN’s patient group, recognises the size of the task clinical directors have managed over the last few months but identifies two particular issues where patients have a necessary and valuable contribution, that need to be addressed now – the 2020 vaccination programme and primary care from a distance- total triage, remote consultations, and the use of telemedicine.

  • Link of the week - Visionbridge
    31 July 2020

    The link we are sharing this week was submitted by Julian Jackson, Visionbridge.

  • Links of the week
    23 July 2020

    This week we are sharing two articles with you.

Friday, 5 January 2018

A Blithering plan

As the NHS finds itself in the grip of winter pressures and panic is setting in, it's time for strong leaders to step up. At NHS Blithering, Sir Trevor Longstay, knighted for services to the clinical waste industry, is getting ready to do his bit. Follow a typical day in the lives of the Blithering team as they battle on tirelessly against the odds.

08:30 Reception, Blithering CCG

“Ah, it’s Lord Plackard,” boomed Sir Trevor Longstay, bowing to NHS Blithering’s communications supremo.  

Martin Plackard smiled weakly.

News of Plackard’s OBE had spread fast, mainly thanks to Plackard himself, who had issued an immediate press release protesting his unworthiness.

He was already on the train to London when a civil servant called to say that there had been a mistake: they had the wrong Plackard. Any suspicions of unworthiness were confirmed. A crestfallen Plackard had turned back at Milton Keynes.

“Embarrassing for you, Plackard,” said Sir Trevor, with obvious relish.

“Yes, bad luck, Plackard,“ agreed Dr David Rummage.

Plackard scanned the ruddy face of Blithering’s medical director for signs of irony. But Rummage was inscrutable. Valium and whisky can do that to a man.

“Congratulations on your own honour, David,” Plackard said, through gritted teeth.

Rummage’s DocOnTap healthcare app had won acclaim from everyone except the medical profession and patients. The NHS England comms team and the trade press loved it. The DH had listed it among the top 20 “uniquely disruptive healthcare innovations of the year”. The HSJ had given it an award. Rummage’s MBE was the cherry on top.

“Thanks, Plackard,” said Rummage.

“You jammy bastard,” thought Plackard.

09:50 Board room

“So we’re agreed then,” said Martin Plackard. This was a typically Plackardian intervention, a ploy he used whenever there was an absence of agreement or credible ideas. Both problems were evident in the meeting of the Blithering winter pressures taskforce.

“I’ll summarise, shall I?” asked Plackard, gamely pushing on with the pretence.

He listed the top suggestions so far for alleviating winter pressures.

  1. Compulsory flu jabs, “Here to help” T-shirts and badges for all frontline staff. Sir Trevor offered to wear his “HelloMyNameIs…Longstay” lanyard to make him more approachable to non-execs and nurses.
  2. A 400% increase in hospital car park charges - proposed by Gill Stark, interim director of finance. Everyone liked this idea, which would boost parking income and/or reduce demand for hospital services. Win-win either way.
  3. A hard-hitting campaign to stop patients using the NHS unless they really need to. Suggestions for slogans included: “Have you any idea what this costs?” (Sir Trevor), “If you think the NHS is free, there really is something wrong with you” (Rummage) and “Why don’t we talk about it when you’re feeling a bit better” (Jenny Asda, patient empathy lead).   
  4. Recruiting winter ambassadors - a scheme to harness the energy of local communities and find natural leaders capable of educating ordinary people about winter and coming up with solutions for the coldest time of year. Very high social return on investment for a modest half-million pound investment in social media and community activism.
  5. Cancelling outpatient appointments – a highly effective way to underline the seriousness of the situation to the public and maximise the efficiency of hospitals. “I’m sure they could do with some extra dermatologists and podiatrists in the emergency department at busy times,“ said Rummage, neatly summarising the clinical benefits of the strategy.
  6. Better “signposting” to help people choose wisely. This is one of several areas that Plackard claims to be “passionate” about. “All the evidence suggests that people care deeply about NHS funding and are keen to educate themselves about the most cost-effective and appropriate services,” he says. Everyone agrees that this could make a big difference.
  7. Blithering’s senior team are to do shifts at Blithering General until further notice. “We need to lead from the front, roll our sleeves up, muck in, do what we can to help, show ‘em what we’re made of...” Sir Trevor paused, aware that he was running out of clichés. “People need to see we’re doing everything possible to keep the service going. Get some press there Plackard – and find them some grateful old ladies to interview.”  

11:30 The Blithering Healthy Options Cafe (sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts)

“It’s you or Sir Trevor, “said Plackard, “and people trust doctors. Nobody trusts Sir Trevor.”

“I haven’t seen a patient for years,” protested Rummage.

“We know that, but as far as the press are concerned you’re a bona fide medical practitioner, David,” said Plackard.

Rummage looked unconvinced.

“All you have to say is that you’re very sorry about all the ambulance queues and cancelled operations, but that there’s a lot of flu this year,” said Plackard. “It’s local radio. You won’t get any difficult questions.”

“They’ll ask me if there’s a crisis,” said Rummage. “What shall I tell them?”

“Tell them it’s only a crisis if you don’t have a plan,” replied Plackard.

“Do we have a plan?” asked Rummage

Plackard rolled his eyes. Had the money on Rummage’s press training been spent in vain?

“Just tell them that we have been aware of winter for several months and planning accordingly. Here,” said Plackard, handing Rummage a sheet of paper. “Read this, it tells you everything you need to know.”

Rummage studied the document, a “lines to take” briefing from NHS England.

He frowned. “I don’t need a bloody script,” he said.

“It’s not a script, David, it’s a plan,” said Plackard.

21:00 Waiting area, A&E, Blithering General

“I don’t understand it,” said Rummage. “This place is usually heaving by now.”

“Oh they’re turning up, they’re just not getting through,” said Ramesh Kandhu, the hospital’s director of emergency care.

“Triage?” asked Rummage.

“You could say that,” replied Kandhu.

A familiar voice reached Rummage. “There’s absolutely nothing bloody wrong with you, man. Pull yourself together and go back to your hovel. I don’t want to see you back here unless you’re on a stretcher.”

A terrified looking man hobbled for the exit.

Sir Trevor Longstay waved to Rummage from the reception desk.

“We’ll soon have this place back on its feet, Rummage,” he bellowed.

Winter pressures editor: Julian Patterson


Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan says:
Jan 05, 2018 03:21 PM

LOL. I love it when a plan comes together:)

Anonymous says:
Jan 09, 2018 02:34 PM

Brilliant parody..... or is it?