Blithering tops the ratings
Confounding its many critics, Blithering CCG has been rated “outstanding” in NHS England’s league table of clinical commissioning groups.
Blithering was initially among the three-quarters of all CCGs rated “inadequate” when the results were first calculated.
Alarmed that the failure of most of the organisations responsible for £100bn of NHS spending might send out the wrong signals, NHS England “enhanced the goalposts and refreshed the evaluation criteria” to ensure that most CCGs were above the line.
Dr Liz Wanhope, chief officer of Blithering CCG, said: “No one was more delighted than me when Blithering went from ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’ in the re-run of the ratings process. It’s good to see the hard work, dedication and consummate professionalism of all at the CCG recognised by NHS England.”
Dr Wanhope pointed to a number of achievements since the publication of the Blithering Forward View, the document at the heart of the Blithering, Teeming and East Churlish sustainability and transformation plan. These include:
- Termination of contracts formerly let to Blithering Wellbeing, the provider consortium led by Dr David Rummage before it was wound up pending an investigation into serious financial irregularities
- A “most improved” award from NHS Improvement for eliminating waiting times at NHS Teeming Foundation Trust’s A&E department, which was closed to make way for much-needed retail space
- Swift action to remove so-called “ghost patients” from local GP lists, made possible by an innovative “one strike and you’re out” rule for patients who fail to respond in time to the re-registration drive advertised in the Blithering Patient Forum’s bi-annual e-letter (circulation: 420)
- A PokemonGo style app for allocating rationed elective procedures and medicines. Patients love the new approach, which allows them to “earn” points for care and get some healthy exercise at the same time.
Blithering, which has a reputation as England’s worst-performing CCG, took the news of its original rating badly, but officials deny claims of a war of words with NHS England.
Martin Plackard, director of communications and digital wellbeing at Blithering, said: “The CCG would like to dissociate itself from remarks on social media by someone claiming to be Liz Wanhope. The tweets, made before Blithering’s mis-rating situation was corrected, complained of ‘a sham, a lottery and kick in the teeth for my team’.
"The offending Twitter account has been deleted to avoid any confusion. I also wish to point out that inflammatory quotes attributed to Dr Wanhope in the HSJ were the work of an imposter."
Plackard said that a press release with the headline “Ratings shambles slammed by Blithering bosses” was an early draft, not intended for publication. “It was issued in error by a temp, who has since been laid off as part of ongoing efforts to reduce staff costs. I am unable to comment further, except to say that nothing is my fault,” he added.
“We have always been very clear that we think this is an excellent rating system and that we support it unreservedly.”
Regulatory affairs editor: Julian Patterson