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Blithering: in their own words


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Friday, 4 January 2019

Blithering: in their own words

As we look back on 2018, it’s time to reflect on what the NHS can learn from England’s most challenged health economy. Here are some insights from the NHS Blithering leadership team over the past year, in their own words.

On integrated care systems

“They’re trying to make us relevant again” – Sir Trevor Longstay is annoyed by the news that STPs will be asked to produce new five year plans.

“It’s unlikely we’ll see much progress until we have an acronym that plays better with stakeholder focus groups” – Martin Plackard identifies one of the biggest stumbling blocks to integrated care.  

The Blithering Integrated Care System was among the first to produce a credible ICS plan. Putting Priorities First: Towards Total Integration: A Health and Care Strategy for All Time 2018/19 set out 57 visions and ambitions for a more integrated Blithering.

On innovation

This time last year Plackard’s winter ambassadors scheme was a bold attempt to relieve seasonal pressure on the NHS “by developing natural leaders able to educate ordinary people about winter and come up with local solutions for the coldest time of year”.  

Dr David Rummage, Blithering’s top GP innovator faced initial scepticism about his AI-style app GP to Go, particularly the claim that the app could diagnose 98% of conditions with “better than 100% accuracy”. Rummage dismissed doubts about the clinical evidence, explaining that the app had been “peer reviewed by a leading firm of venture capitalists”.

“Cards on the table: there’s nothing a GP can do that an app can’t do better. Sadly a lot of my colleagues are stuck in the dark ages, when doctors relied on nothing more than empathy, training and medical knowledge” – Dr David Rummage, medical director, NHS Blithering and founder of RummArts Software chastises his fellow GPs for holding back progress.

On planning

“A robust plan has three main ingredients: credibility, ambition and charts. Its purpose is to inspire confidence – nothing more” – Sir Trevor shows his pragmatic side.

“It’s got to say sustainable, innovative, digital, compassionate, joined up, collaborative, transparent, high-quality, patient-centred, locally determined, clinically driven, stakeholder led community movement” – Plackard explains how to keep any plan on message.

“I note with satisfaction Ian Dalton’s email telling trusts to pull their bloody socks up. As Ian put it so well, our unrealistic targets are no excuse for your unrealistic plans” – Sir Trevor has no sympathy for poor planners.

“The NHS long term plan will be the start not the end of planning. It doesn’t make sense for the NHS to come up with a single plan that everyone follows” – Plackard explains why there’s no such thing as too much planning. 

On leadership

“When everyone else is talking in clichés, you need to break the mould, rewrite the rule book and come up with a game-changer. If something isn’t working, chances are you haven’t found the right name for it yet” – Plackard on thinking out of the box. 

David Rummage offered two pieces of valuable advice to fellow clinical leaders and change agents: “Lead from very near the front, and be the change they want to hear about at the moment.”

Sir Trevor Longstay was an enthusiastic supporter of the plan that bears his name, but less keen on Plackard’s ideas for an extensive stakeholder consultation exercise for the Longstay Plan. His words have become a mantra for the Blithering leadership team.

“It’s not about asking people what they want or about listening to what they have to say: it’s about leadership.”

Editor: NHS Networks