150,752 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


A light reset: Matt Hancock’s diary


Blog headlines

  • ‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory’
    16 September 2021

    The Networks blog this week comes from the Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare (Staff College) is a national charity dedicated to promoting great leadership for the public good.

  • Reflections on a ‘new’ NHS and its impact on general practice
    10 September 2021

    This week’s blog we are sharing reflections by William Greenwood on the direction for the health service and potential impact on general practice.

  • When facilitation could turn into mediation
    3 September 2021

    Requests to attend a meeting, to help find a way forward, to help with planning, to redesign a care pathway, and numerous other reasons are not always what they seem. Sometimes you will be asked to facilitate, or just asked to attend. What then happens in the room may not be the meeting that you are expecting. Other situations, such as tensions between practices, departments or teams may give a more obvious sign that what is needed goes beyond just attending or facilitating a little.

  • Population Health Management?
    26 August 2021

    One of the frequently heard phrases of the moment is population health management – but what is it and does it work. The blog is from a longer article by Monica Duncan exploring the topic.

  • The future must be primary care
    19 August 2021

    The blog this week is by Professor David Colin-Thomé, chair of PCC.

  • Preparing for winter 2021/22
    13 August 2021

    One of the hottest days of the year saw people from practices, primary care networks (PCNs) and federations gather to start to think creatively about managing their winter pressures in this session hosted by PCC and the NHS Confederation PCN Network.

  • Building the collaboration
    5 August 2021

    Prior to COVID-19 primary care network (PCN) community pharmacy leads (representing a group of pharmacy contractors in their locality) were starting to contact the clinical director for their allocated PCN to discuss how pharmacy services could develop and adapt to help address community health needs.

  • Audit into action… with a pandemic thrown into the mix!
    29 July 2021

    A blog from the Clinical Leads for the National Audit of Care at the End of Life (NACEL).

  • GP partnership uses new video to highlight benefits of its merger-led transformation
    23 July 2021

    An East Cheshire-based GP practice, the Middlewood Partnership, which formally merged in order to successfully transform its clinical and business models, is sharing insights, via a new video, with colleagues across the health and social care sector.

  • Early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer
    15 July 2021

    The Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation Centre (BRACE) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research to conduct rapid evaluation of promising new services and innovations in health and social care. The BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre and Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit have published findings from the early evaluation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Trailblazer programme.

  • Learn from reflection
    8 July 2021

    We are sharing an article by Helen Northall, chief executive, PCC this week on learning from reflection.

  • Link of the week: National Thank You Day
    1 July 2021

    This week we are featuring National Thank You Day.

  • North East Essex integrated discharge single point of access - implementing the Coronavirus Act 2020 and Covid-19 hospital discharge service requirements
    24 June 2021

    The blog this week is from Frank Sims, chief executive of Anglian Community Enterprise and shares learning on collaboration and redesign to support hospital discharge.

  • Helping your patients making an informed choice: Medical or Surgical abortion?
    17 June 2021

    This week the blog has been submitted by MSI Reproductive Choices UK and is about supporting patients to make an informed choice based on NICE guidance.

  • The potential for case finding patients with cardiovascular disease in a dental setting
    10 June 2021

    The blog this week is by Wendy Crew, PCC adviser, considering the opportunity to case find patients with cardiovascular disease in a dental setting.

  • Using population health data to inform ARRS recruitment
    3 June 2021

    Funding for the additional role reimbursement scheme (ARRS) has increased nationally from £430m (2020-21) to £746m max. (2021-22) with an allocation available for each primary care network (PCN) depending on the size of the population it covers. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) draw down the funds but only as new roles are recruited within PCNs. PCNs are therefore being strongly encouraged to make use of their ARRS allocation to ensure people in their neighbourhoods benefit from the funding available.

  • SHAPE Atlas mapping tool
    27 May 2021

    As the themes of the NHS Long Term Plan start to become reality through plans for legislation to support integration, we need to work out where the best place is to deliver services.

  • Cancer Care Map
    20 May 2021

    The blog this week has been submitted by Robin Pritchard, co-director of Cancer Care Map. Cancer Care Map is a stand-alone, comprehensive, independent, free to use online directory of cancer support services in the UK providing verified and trusted information, regularly checked and updated and accessible to all.

  • Understanding and aligning link worker and community capacity building activity: A place-based approach in York and Wakefield
    13 May 2021

    The blog this week is by Sian Lockwood, chief executive officer of Community Catalysts.

  • Virtual group consultations and Why skip/send it to landfill?
    6 May 2021

    An article on group consultations that celebrates the patient perspective and experiences of receiving care this way from Alison Manson. Blog on reusing/recycling and saving money for a NHS Trust from Alex Ford.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

A light reset: Matt Hancock’s diary

Isn’t it frustrating when tech doesn’t work? According to the driver console my Jag is due a service, but it shouldn’t need one for another 10,000 miles. Ring the dealer who tells me to bring it in for a light reset.

It’s extraordinary in this day and age that they can’t do it online. But it gives me an idea. I’ll come back to it in a minute.

I’m literally full of ideas. In the past week I’ve given a lot of speeches, where I’ve had a chance to share some of my best ones. I’ve also posted a few videos of me talking about my speeches in case you missed them.

NHS Expo was brilliant. Full of people like me, only less important, obviously. Great people nonetheless, who completely share my passion for tech. In my keynote speech I set out my three challenges: technology, innovation and something about workforce.

Bump into the Stevens fellow. Poor chap still seems to think he’s in charge and even gives a speech of his own. Ruddy cheek! I tell Lucinda to have a quiet word with the organisers to make sure he doesn’t get on the agenda again.  

You can read my speech online – do, it’s pretty good. In essence I said we need the best tech in the world, but that it has to be right, it all has to work together and it shouldn’t be too expensive. Nobody had realised that which is why we literally wasted £10bn on the National Programme for IT. What a pity I wasn’t in charge then.


Some people may wonder what my qualifications are. Well they’re pretty impressive. My first job in tech was to solve the millennium bug. This was a huge deal in the late 1990s, when people were worried that planes would fall from the sky, power stations would stop working and nuclear missiles would go off, ending humanity and doing untold damage to the economy. When none of that happened, some people said the bug was a damp squib. But it only wasn’t a global disaster thanks to people like me.

Nobody imagined I was serious when I said I would stop having Monday meetings with so called system leaders. JH advised me to keep them going, but the poor fellow had the wrong end of the stick. These people know nothing about systems. None of them has ever written a single line of code. Most of them are just NHS managers and senior doctors with no frontline tech experience. I’m looking into how they were ever allowed to call themselves system leaders. It’s one of the first things I’ll change.

The time I’ve saved talking to men in suits lets me get out and meet the real people behind the NHS. One of my first tasks is to get to grips with social care, so I ask Lucinda to book me a visit to a typical residential home. 

Thank you, chef

And so I find myself at the Cliff Richard Summer Holiday Village in Weybridge with nothing but my media team and a camera crew. It’s a very nice place. The inmates are polite, clean and seem to have all their marbles. They have a bar, sauna, cinema, boutique shopping complex and access to round the clock care.

There’s even a cricket pitch. It goes without saying that we have a bit of a knock up for the benefit of the cameras. I go in to bat at lunchtime and am still going strong when we break for tea. The old boys are tired at the end and a couple of them have to be stretchered off, but I give them some fielding tips and tell them to work on their fitness.

As we polish off a nice dinner provided by the home’s Michelin starred chef I reflect that the problems in social care may not be as bad as everyone says. You’ve just got to get out there, roll up your sleeves, strap on your pads and knock the challenges for six.


So back to that light reset. As soon as I leave the garage, I get straight on to NHS Improvement and tell them to publish the real figures for trust deficits. Lucinda thinks I’ve lost the plot, but I explain it to her as patiently as I can.

Where JH went wrong was to keep up the pretence that things aren’t all that bad when they’re clearly terrible. All I’m doing is resetting expectations at a much lower level. Life is so much easier without a warning light flashing at you every five minutes.

It didn’t take me long to sort out the Jag. I’ll soon have the NHS firing on all cylinders again.

Diary editor: NHS Networks


Tommy Stevenson
Tommy Stevenson says:
Sep 14, 2018 09:45 AM

love it, any chance you could start a blog from the Scottish minister it would be even funnier because they genuinely don't have a clue

Jack Corbett
Jack Corbett says:
Sep 14, 2018 01:19 PM

Some great lines as ever. Whatever your feelings about their services, you have to admit Babylon Health and BenevolentAI sound like they have been spat out of an evil movie corporation name generator.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Sep 14, 2018 05:50 PM

Thanks for the comments. The Scottish minister is outside my jurisdiction. Blogging rights were devolved. I try never to associate with evil movie corporations.

Anonymous says:
Sep 19, 2018 05:29 PM

Really enjoying the MH diaries. Reminds me of something one might find in Private Eye.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Sep 20, 2018 02:51 PM

Thanks Anon. That's high praise.