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A hard man to find


Blog headlines

  • UK’s National Health Service teams up with the Radio Society of Great Britain to improve health and wellbeing
    4 March 2021

    This week's blog is by Paul Devlin, Emergency Care Improvement Support Team (ECIST), NHS England and NHS Improvement.

  • Structuring a PCN Social Prescribing Service for the post COVID world
    25 February 2021

    This week we have a blog by Nick Sharples.

  • Community-Oriented Integrated Care
    18 February 2021

    The blog this week is a short extract from a paper considering an approach primary care networks could use to move towards community-oriented integrated care.

  • Strategy Unit releases opensource model for planning vaccine centre capacity
    11 February 2021

    This week's blog is from The Strategy Unit who are sharing an opensource model to help with vaccine centre capacity planning.

  • Time to talk day
    4 February 2021

    A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

  • Supporting Staff: the emergence of ‘long-covid’
    28 January 2021

    As we are now well into a second, or is it now the third, wave of Covid-19 it is becoming apparent that Covid is something we have not experienced before and it has unique implications for staff management. It is not just the possibility that staff may become acutely ill with the virus, but that for some they may go on to develop persistent debilitating symptoms that will affect their ability to go back to work. This article looks at the implications of long-covid for HR and service managers when looking to support health care professionals (HCPs) return to work.

  • Link of the week: Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR)
    21 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a link to the Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) site that is funded by Health Education England.

  • So much more than an extra pair of hands
    14 January 2021

    The introduction of the additional roles reimbursement scheme for primary care networks has started to grow capacity in general practice to address the unsustainably high workload that has put so much pressure on GPs.

  • Primary Care Networks – how did we get here?
    7 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a blog by PCC’s chairman David Colin-Thomé.

  • A year like no other
    17 December 2020

    On 5 July 1948 the NHS was born, over the last 72 years challenges and changes have been remarkable but the service has probably never been tested as much as in the last nine months. There have previously been numerous re-organisations, multiple changes to hospitals, mental health services and a shift from the family doctor towards more integrated primary care services delivered by a range of professionals. However, rapid transformation of services to embrace digital technologies, and a shift change to work differently has been forced upon all areas of the health service this year.

  • Guest blog: David Hotchin
    11 December 2020

    This week we have a guest blog that was submitted to us by David Hotchin, written by a retired friend....obviously, he's used a little poetic licence.

  • What now for commissioning?
    3 December 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 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.

Friday, 8 December 2017

A hard man to find

Ian Dalton, recently installed as chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare Trust, has got a new job after just four months. Nice for Ian, unlucky for Imperial who had paid a recruitment consultant £60,000 – or £15,000 for each month he was in post.

These things happen, of course, but it does beg the question: why was Ian Dalton so hard to find? He is reasonably well known. Someone must have had his email address or phone number. Next time Imperial is looking for help, perhaps it will exhaust the low-cost options first, starting with a notice in the newsagent or an advert on NHS Jobs.

Mr Dalton’s new gig, incidentally, is chief executive of the irony regulator NHS Improvement.


Sam Jones is no longer the face of the vanguard movement, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost interest in the cutting edge of innovation. “Just booked an eye test on my phone. Took about a minute. So easy…” she tweeted yesterday.

Later, Sam disclosed that she no longer relied on a kettle suspended over an open fire to heat bathwater and that she was experimenting with a device that allowed her to hold a conversation with someone several miles away as if they were in the same room.

Stone free

Although vanguards were responsible for a number of memorable innovations that will be documented in due course, none will be as impressive as the breakthrough in injury prevention unveiled this week by Marks & Spencer. The leading supplier of support chassis to NHS managers is stocking a product that could do more to relieve winter pressures on the NHS than all other urgent care initiatives put together.

The Guardian reports that M&S has introduced a stoneless avocado that promises to eliminate pitting injuries during the preparation of tricolore salads and guacamole. Waitrose is thought to be developing a flat carrot and a non-slip mango in an attempt to maintain its position as market leader in safe food solutions to the health-conscious middle classes.

Hard news

A different safety issue has arisen in Ringaskiddy, Ireland where, according to the Irish Post, fumes from a Viagra production facility are causing needless hardship among the male population. Men walking their dogs in the vicinity of the factory tell of debilitating side-effects including spontaneous outbreaks of localised wellbeing. Even the dogs have been seen walking stiffly, the papers report. A spokesman for Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, looked pleased to see our reporter but rejected the story as an “amusing myth”.

Night rider

Nurses are even harder to find than Ian Dalton. Up to 40,000 of them are missing after a civil servant left the workforce plan on a bus a decade ago. Imagine Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium or Stamford Bridge full to capacity and you’ll get a sense of what a big number that is. Or if it’s easier, think of it as eight times the number of GPs that have also disappeared.

Fortunately one man is doing all he can to help. Simon Stevens spent the night riding around London in an ambulance. This simple act of selflessness was Simon’s way of saying thank you to his comms team for everything they’ve done for him this year.

While moist-eyed, grateful editors were preparing to fill their newspapers with the story, there was a lone cynical voice in the cuddly, drug-addled form of commentator Fabbington Bear, who tweeted: “Thank you for finding him. We were so worried when he didn’t show up to the meeting last night. I hope you gave him a sandwich, soup and a nice warm jumper.”

News editor: Julian Patterson


Judy Aldred
Judy Aldred says:
Dec 08, 2017 12:21 PM

Sodding recruitment companies.
They are the scourge of the economy. They do NOTHING!! You get 6 million unfiltered CVs. 99% are inappropriate. The people you interview are unsuitable because they changed their CV on guidance from the recruitment company so you will interview them.
I get at least 20 emails a day from them offering me 'suitable staff' when I HAVE NO BLOODY VACANCIES.
When they are not bombarding me they are bombarding my staff trying to get them to move jobs just so they get SODDING COMMISSION.
They are all waste of space BASTARDS!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 08, 2017 12:44 PM

Thanks, Judy. I feel a little ambivalent myself.

Anonymous says:
Dec 08, 2017 04:01 PM

This was right on the money as usual Julian, but I'm afraid you've been beaten in the laughter stakes by the fantastic comment from Judy - Hilarious, and also right on the money (the bit that's left and not in the pockets of recruitment and locum companies)

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 09, 2017 10:32 AM

I agree. We're left to wonder what we pay the salaries of HR staff to do if not this. Perhaps we could understand and forgive the expenditure on agencies if they were fishing outside the NHS talent pool, but they're not. We already know the names of the people they "find" and, to add insult to injury, they get all of their intelligence about where to look from us.
Consultant: "Hello Mr Dalton, is there anyone you could recommend for the NHS Improvement job?"
ID: "Funny you should mention it, I do have a rather talented chap in mind."

jenny Greenfield
jenny Greenfield says:
Dec 17, 2017 11:14 AM

thank you for actually recognising the fact that we have a huge problem with nurses as well as GP's!!!!
I get sick of hearing how GP's cannot recruit and how hard they work. If they did not have the support of the nurses, primary care would have crumbled a long time ago

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 18, 2017 10:06 AM

Thanks for your comment, Jenny. I agree that we often focus on the GP recruitment crisis and ignore others.