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Heavy weather


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    2 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Heavy weather

The NHS is grinding to a standstill in the face of the harshest conditions for several weeks. NHS bosses have activated emergency plans as prolonged spells of paperwork threaten to engulf hospitals and doctors’ surgeries complain of being completely snowed under.

The worst-affected areas have been put on a red tape alert. Heavy falls of paper are forecast for the foreseeable future.

Staff complaining of being “up to their necks in the white stuff” are struggling to get up in the morning. Those who manage to make it into work say they are unable to get anything done.

One manager told of her own near-death experience. 

“It was awful,” she said. “There was a light dusting of forms when I came into the office, but by around 4pm the drifts were so deep you couldn’t get to the door. Luckily a colleague had brought a shovel, so we were able to dig our way out. I dread to think what would have happened otherwise.”

Finance directors are particularly vulnerable with many finding themselves on very thin ice or up frozen creeks without access to adequate paddles.

Meanwhile GPs complain that constant interruptions from people walking into their premises demanding to be “seen” are preventing them from completing vital paperwork.

One group of managers was found buried alive under several feet of self-assessment forms.  “We ate Kit Kats and read each other passages from the Five Year Forward View to keep our spirits up,” said one grateful survivor.

Rescuers said they had no idea how long the managers had been there.  “We arrived just in time. They were already talking gibberish. Any longer and this could have been a really tragic situation.”

MPs are demanding to know why the NHS was not better prepared for the onslaught of thick documents, which is always worst at this time of year.

But NHS England said that unexpected interim planning guidance had hit parts of the country very hard.

“This took us completely by surprise,” a spokesperson said. “It’s not unknown to see flurries of mind-numbing drivel towards the end of the financial year, but this winter is particularly bad.”

NHS England’s emergency response team say they are on top of the situation. A 96-page guidance document (Towards Digital: Aiming to Alleviate the Adverse Effects of Excess Paperwork and Inappropriate Form Filling in Due Course) is being rushed out to the hardest-hit areas in specially adapted snow ploughs equipped with high volume photocopiers.

A government spokesman said the NHS was coping well with the extreme conditions. “We’d like to pay tribute to the courage and dedication of NHS staff up and down the country for collecting essential data, completing plans and writing reports without which quite literally millions of people would get on with their lives as usual,” he said.

Winter of discontent editor: Julian Patterson


Bernadette Grabowska-Kirk
Bernadette Grabowska-Kirk says:
Mar 02, 2018 08:20 AM

Please stop!!! My ribs are aching with laughter ... at the accuracy of this post! :-)

Anonymous says:
Mar 02, 2018 09:39 AM

So funny! I work in a gp surgery and lately I am wondering, 'Where have all the doctors gone?'They are busy doing qof work, HR, partner business administration..... why?? A patient commented- 'you can never get an appointment but when you walk into the surgery, there isn't a body in there'( she's Irish). It's true.I ask myself also, 'where have al lthe patients gone?'. I can only conclude they are in the walk in centres where they are directed every morning around 8.20 because all the days appointments have gone.Why?

Anonymous says:
Mar 02, 2018 04:08 PM

Hilarious as usual! I look forward to these postings. Keep up the good work!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Mar 02, 2018 06:57 PM

Thanks for the comments, folks. The usual disclaimer applies: all bodies mentioned in this post are fictional. Probably.

Judy Aldred
Judy Aldred says:
Mar 05, 2018 09:02 AM

One of your best. Only managed to read it today as I was snowed in :)

Sygal Amitay
Sygal Amitay says:
Mar 20, 2018 03:32 PM

An absolute classic!