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Build your own ACS


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • 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.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Build your own ACS

The NHS has teamed up to Lego to create the most absorbing and challenging construction set ever. The Lego Accountable Care System promises to keep you and your family occupied well into the New Year 2023 and beyond.

Watch their faces light up this Christmas morning as they eagerly tear off the hundreds of layers of wrapping paper, appoint a team of lawyers and set to work.

The Lego ACS replaces previously available activity based play systems with a revolutionary outcomes-based collaborative approach to construction.

Gone are such old-fashioned concepts as instructions and pieces that fit together. No more boring old picture on the box telling you what your model should look like. Instead, you and your family are invited to use your imagination and skill to create the care system you can afford, not the one you think you deserve.

Inside the box are:

  • High-level plans for a care-like system
  • Examples of overseas models you might want to try
  • A limited number of pieces or “available resources”
  • Unlimited Lego Patient figurines – we’ll keep sending these even if you beg us to stop!  
  • Draft construction rules (subject to change) – you don’t have to follow them, but you may void your warranty if you don’t.

Each kit comes with just enough pieces to build a hospital, GP surgery, clinic or care home, but what are you going to do with all the patients left over? Get together with friends and neighbours to integrate your individual Lego care siloes to make a full-blown ACS.

Fun for all the family

Here’s how it works. Arrange a meeting between all Lego stakeholders in your street. One of you will need to be the leader. If you can’t agree who it should be, the boss will be the person with the biggest Lego Hospital. Try to include everyone – even if all they have is a Lego Social Care kit or the entry-level Lego Mental Health Trust (both discontinued). If you still can’t decide, ask a parent or NHS England official to choose a leader. 

You will all need to work together to build your ACS. If you are missing pieces for your part of the system, perhaps someone else has some they don’t need. To stop the whole thing falling over, make sure you start with a strong base using the Lego Support Chassis (available separately).

Now more unrealistic than ever!

Once you have built your basic structure and filled it with patients, you will need to add figurines from the extensive range of Lego Healthcare Professionals. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough – just keep moving them around and tell them to work harder!

Choose from Lego GP with unbreakable contract (comes with lifetime guarantee), protesting Lego Junior Doctor with Save Our NHS and range of Down With placards, Lego Nurse (compatible with Lego Foodbank set) and Lego Social Worker with authentic haunted look and beard.

Note that due to demand, stocks of some figures may be limited until 2028. If you don’t have enough clinicians to look after all your patients, just add a Lego Plausible Health Secretary. For added realism, get the Lego Credible Workforce Plan (coming soon) and hold a press conference to announce it to your friends.

Optional extras

There are lots of extras to make your ACS even more fun. Choose from:  

  • The Lego Winter Pressures Option Pack – stops cracks developing into serious structural problems in cold weather
  • The Universal Clinician Assistant (new!) – a flexible figurine able to do everything a GP, junior doctor or nurse can do but at a fraction of the cost
  • The Lego Change Agent – available in a range of clip-on hairstyles and vacuous expressions (part of the Lego Horizons space travel range)
  • The Lego CQC Inspector – comes in sets of 20, includes spare clipboards – compatible with Lego Holiday Inn Express
  • The A&E Expansion Kit – includes extra trolleys and tents for the car park just in case you run out of ambulances for storing your spare patients.

Parental warning: Not suitable for anyone. Contains unlikely parts.

Construction editor: Julian Patterson 


Anonymous says:
Dec 14, 2017 01:31 PM

Smart & would also be funny if it wasnt so true to life! It made me smile even though I should'nt really.

Melanie Ashdown
Melanie Ashdown says:
Dec 14, 2017 09:37 PM

This is clever! Well done 👍🏻

Colin Hingston
Colin Hingston says:
Dec 15, 2017 08:21 AM

This is so on-the-money that I begin to fear for poor Patterson's tormented sanity.

Anonymous says:
Dec 15, 2017 08:46 AM

Surely, Lego Patient Representative figures should be included in this ACS to ensure the bleeding obvious is mentioned at every meeting and interaction.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson says:
Dec 15, 2017 10:00 AM

Hi Julian

Save the best for last. Gets my vote for your best blog of the year!

Loved: 'Now even more unrealistic than ever' LOL

Suspect Professor Pat Pending has already submitted his forms. Clearly - 'How to build an ACS' - will be the next biggest thing to happen in the Lego dynasty. :)

david seabrooke
david seabrooke says:
Dec 15, 2017 10:04 AM

You’ve reminded me, I wonder if the Meccano Area Health Authority set is still up in the attic? It belonged to my father and I remember being allowed to play with it as a child. You never know, it might be worth something now.

Steve Benjamin
Steve Benjamin says:
Dec 15, 2017 10:08 AM

effin brilliant. I so want to copy this around to my colleagues in the area. Do you know what? I think I will. Merry Christmas

Lee Eddell
Lee Eddell says:
Dec 15, 2017 10:46 AM

so funny

Anonymous says:
Dec 15, 2017 12:04 PM

Ah Meccano. In danger of getting nostalgic here but whilst Meccano was fiddly there was a certain level of pleasure to be had from assembly first bolting pieces together loosely and then gradually tightening all the connections to ensure the construction held together and didn't collapse.

Nowadays people are less inclined to spend time on assembly. It’s all push-fit-play and if it doesn't work first time (or even if it did) someone will decide that they have an even better design. It will then be pulled apart, reassembled using the same design parameters but maybe using different coloured bricks. Either that or someone will build something in another part of the lounge and demand at the 11th hour that their design is included as a bolt on.

We then hold our breath waiting for the latest model design to fall over – and when it inevitably does - we can then begin the next game in the sequence; a classic parlour game called ‘I told you so …’ :)

david seabrooke
david seabrooke says:
Dec 15, 2017 01:35 PM

EXAM QUESTION: 1) What do you consider to be the relationship between nuts & bolts and governance? Illustrate your answer with examples from your knowledge of assembling and maintaining complex structures. (12 marks)

Anonymous says:
Dec 15, 2017 02:07 PM

So brilliant. Colleagues are questioning why I am laughing on a Friday. About to share far and wide.

Anonymous says:
Dec 16, 2017 11:52 AM

The more amusing the blogs, the more uneasy I feel about the fact that the people making/ discussing/ 'delivering' these schemes are the very ones laughing at their ridiculousness. Or are there really lots of people out there who think that this stuff is great??

Anonymous says:
Dec 20, 2017 02:16 PM

Hmm... tempting... must see if argos got any left