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Home surgery could spell end of NHS cuts


Blog headlines

  • Virtual education sessions on spinal cord injury from Spinal Injuries Association
    2 July 2020

    This week Karen Mikalsen from the Spinal Injuries Association shares some information on their work and events for healthcare professionals.

  • Guest blog:Karen Chumley
    25 June 2020

    Thank you to Karen Chumley for a second blog –this time on the local use of an Electronic Palliative Care Coordination system during the Covid-19 pandemic. Karen is the Clinical Director and Deputy CEO at St Helena.

  • Link of the week
    19 June 2020

    This week's link of the week is article by Yasmin Khanagha published in Nursing Times – Why we need to open the conversation about racism.

  • Guest blog: Dr Karen Chumbley
    12 June 2020

    This week we have a guest blog submitted by Dr Karen Chumbley, clinical director and deputy chief executive at St Helena (https://www.sthelena.org.uk/)

  • Social care to become lifestyle brand
    16 April 2020

    Social care is to get a new brand identity as the government seeks to reverse the perception that it is the poor relation of the NHS.

  • Blithering Covid-19 bulletin plays vital role
    2 April 2020

    To fill a gap in the market for timely and relevant Covid-19 information, Martin Plackard, director of global crisis communications at NHS Blithering introduces his latest initiative to reach out to stakeholders during the outbreak.

  • Social distancing the Longstay way
    27 March 2020

    We asked Sir Trevor Longstay, chief executive of the NHS Blithering University Hospitals Foundation Trust and commander-in-chief of the Blithering Covid-19 Taskforce to give us some practical tips on social distancing. Here he shares some of the lessons learned over four decades of leadership – not all of them relevant or epidemiologically sound

  • Nothing left to shift: fears grow over NHS paradigm supply
    12 March 2020

    The government has issued a stark warning that stocks of paradigms and other basic supplies could soon run out if NHS managers continue panic-buying.

  • Matt Hancock’s diary – a week of levelling up
    27 February 2020

    Taking personal charge of global pandemics is one of the perks of this job. I’m referring to coronavirus, of course, and I’m booked to appear on Sky News to talk about it.

  • Exceeding your expectations: the Blithering staff survey
    20 February 2020

    Staff at NHS Blithering feel listened to “at least once a year” and report that their expectations of taking part in surveys have been “met” or “exceeded” in the past 12 months.

  • Martin Plackard’s week: Tuesday
    7 February 2020

    The second in our series of privileged insights to the working life of Martin Plackard, the NHS’s most gifted communicator

  • Martin Plackard’s week: Monday
    30 January 2020

    First in an occasional series of glimpses into a typical week in the life of Martin Plackard, the NHS's most influential strategic communicator

  • A quick guide to quick guides
    24 January 2020

    Few of us have time for long documents that take ages to read or a lot of expertise to put together. That’s where quick guides come in.

  • Towards people and impact
    17 January 2020

    This week the Royal Pharmaceutical Society advertised for a head of engagement and belonging. Such titles can be controversial – but not for Martin Plackard, whose CV features a number of leadership roles in the fields of impact, euphemism management and talent delivery.

  • National log-in reset will change everything
    9 January 2020

    This week the Department of Health and Social Care announced a £40m investment to make it easier to log-in to NHS computers. It’s a laudable aim, akin to fitting a keyless entry system to a Ford Anglia to make it go faster.

  • Martin Plackard’s top tips for making a difference in 2020
    3 January 2020

    NHS Blithering’s Martin Plackard MBE was recognised in the new year honours list for services to strategic communications and meaningful engagement. Here he gives his top tips for others who hope to make a very real difference to people, communities and their own career prospects in 2020.

  • My amazing Twitter year – by Matt Hancock
    20 December 2019

    It's been a fantastic year on social media for the secretary of state for health and the other thing. Here it is in very nearly his own words

  • Sustainability and transformation parties: mandatory guidance
    5 December 2019

    As Christmas fast approaches, system leaders are getting ready for so-called sustainability and transformation parties, the highlight of the year for those who enjoy kinky integration with strangers.

  • All the latest health policy news from the general **** campaign
    29 November 2019

    Because purdah is still in force, this week’s **** has been heavily redacted. Here are the main parties’ plans for government as set out in their manifestos. A full unexpurgated version can be obtained from **** Party HQ.

  • New outfit more splendidly integrated than ever
    21 November 2019

    The emperor has announced plans for yet another new outfit, amid claims that this one will be even more splendid than the last.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Home surgery could spell end of NHS cuts

The BBC last week reported that a man with a gangrenous foot cut off his own toes after a hospital operation had been cancelled. Doctors said the operation, performed with a pair of surgical pliers had probably saved the man’s foot. It also saved the NHS the cost of putting him under the knife.

The government said the case illustrated the potential to improve NHS outcomes and efficiency without inconveniencing taxpayers or putting further demands on hard-working ministers preoccupied with Brexit plans.

Operating framework

NHS Improvement has started work on a self-care tariff that would reward patients with John Lewis vouchers for cutting out layers of bureaucracy including doctors, nurses and hospitals. The so-called "personal surgery budget" will incentivise people to tackle their own diseased limbs and organs rather than relying on the state to intervene.

The Department of Health dismissed concerns raised by leading doctors about quality and safety. “These will be dealt with by the payments system, which will promote high-quality care by only rewarding good outcomes. It won’t be in patients’ financial interest to make a mess of their operations,” a spokesman said.

Patients in control

The government said that a radical move towards self-care could be the solution to the financial problems facing the NHS, with big potential savings in training alone. 

"No one has the time for formal medical qualifications any more. In the digital age they can just download a tutorial from YouTube and get going," he added.

A further benefit is that patients would no longer need to travel miles to receive treatment, but would get the care they need in the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

“People would also learn useful new skills, such as sewing, which they could apply in other areas of their lives,” the spokesman said.

Surgical spirit

While there are doubts about the ability of individuals to carry out procedures requiring a general anaesthetic (defined by the new NICE home surgery guideline as more than one bottle of brandy), a leading think tank said this is where more community-based approaches would be required.

Neighbours and networks of community “in-reach” workers could be enlisted for complex procedures including heart surgery.

Children could also be useful, particularly in delicate areas such as neurosurgery where their small fingers could be an advantage.

Public Health England warned that children should not be allowed to perform any surgery without adult supervision and reminded parents to take particular care before letting them loose with scalpels or power tools.

“This idea definitely has legs,” said a government spokesman, “for the moment at least.”

Shares in Kingfisher, the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, rose sharply following news of the initiative.

DIY editor:  Julian Patterson


Anonymous says:
Nov 04, 2016 09:30 AM

That lightened up the morning, very funny.

Anonymous says:
Nov 04, 2016 09:38 AM

Hilarious! Good start to Friday!

Mark John Thompson
Mark John Thompson says:
Nov 04, 2016 09:44 AM

stitching my sides up. comedy store surely beckons?

Julian Knight
Julian Knight says:
Nov 04, 2016 01:30 PM

This week's episode certainly a good read and bringing light to the end of a long week. Thanks.

kathryn.stillman@btinternet.com says:
Nov 04, 2016 07:22 PM

Sparkling read as ever. Nice to see anaesthetists are such super amazing doctors, they get a second special mention ;-)

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Nov 04, 2016 07:32 PM

Thanks, Kathryn. You're right of course. I'm very sorry for the careless de-doctoring of this fine profession.

Anonymous says:
Dec 01, 2016 03:49 PM

Hilarious as all blogs by Julian, it's great to read something amusing and funny for a change in a depressing Brexit/Trump world :-)