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Martin Plackard’s week: Tuesday


Blog headlines

  • Link of the week - Visionbridge
    31 July 2020

    The link we are sharing this week was submitted by Julian Jackson, Visionbridge.

  • Links of the week
    23 July 2020

    This week we are sharing two articles with you.

  • Link of the week
    21 July 2020

    The blog is from the perspective of the Company Chemist Association's Chief Executive Malcolm Harrison.

  • Link of the week
    9 July 2020

    This week we are sharing a blog from the NHS Confederation’s “NHS Reset” looking at the work of Healthwatch, the role of volunteers in supporting patients being discharged from hospital and the importance of the community.

  • 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.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Martin Plackard’s week: Tuesday

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

Random acts of systemness

Tuesday is the day for strategic dialogue, this week in shape of the day-long monthly meeting of the systemness committee of the ICS, the newly rebranded All Together Blithering.

The first item on the agenda is my proposal for better planning of random acts of kindness (RAOK).

RAOK have been shown to improve feelings of wellbeing, reduce sickness absence and improve staff retention. More to the point, after the chief nurse proposed that a Duty to be Nice should be written in to the NHS Constitution, a system-level performance measure for RAOK is expected to feature in forthcoming mandatory guidance from NHS England.

How, I ask, coming to the nub of the issue, do we move towards a culture of sustainable kindness at scale and ensure that random acts are made part of everyone’s job?

The meeting’s chair Sir Trevor Longstay, who necessarily takes a neutral position on kindness, cautions against rushing into anything. The new guidance, he says, will be written in the spirit of the NHS Long Term Plan, which means it’s not to be taken literally.

Sir Trevor does agree, however, to a position statement in which the committee expresses its continuing alignment with compassion-based principles and its determination to develop a kindness strategy going forward.

After lunch I facilitate a session where we review the latest draft of the Blithering People Plan. After three years of accelerated engagement, consultation and feedback, we now know what needs to be done. We’ve set this out in the form of a six-point charter:

  1. Rapidly aim to expand the workforce of the future
  2. Invest in or at least invent new roles
  3. Make mental health, general practice, hospitals and community services great places to work again, or for the first time
  4. Plan for excellence and hope for the best
  5. Make people feel valued, particularly when they are not
  6. Put people at the heart of things and keep them there

Underpinning the plan are a number of key appointments including a director of belonging, a head of acceptance and inclusion, a director of resilience and coping, an acting head of empathy and a co-director of sharing.

After a power break for tea and scones the committee turned its attention to the Blithering technology strategy. A damning report had found Blithering wanting in the tech department, a situation that interim chief information officer Dr David Rummage describes as “regrettable”. There has, though, been considerable progress since the Rummage Review, from which three key recommendations have emerged:

  • Fully embrace AI and other innovations by following Matt Hancock on Twitter
  • Realise the full potential of apps in all planning documents and interviews with the media
  • Refer to all uses of data as “population health management”

Dr Rummage also reported on progress at Blithering Skunkworks, the tech incubator and innovation hub modelled on the secretary of state’s NHSX tech unit.

There are important new appointments here too, including a director of platforms, senior sandbox architect, chief algorithms officer, and the creation of a new as yet-unfilled band 5 post of head of quality, cyber-security and user experience.

Sir Trevor brings the meeting to a close with an impassioned speech about the dangers of complacency, slacking and slovenliness. He echoes Norman Tebbit’s view that the NHS would benefit from more military-style discipline.

There is a brief discussion under AOB about whether part of the hospital car park could be set aside for use as a parade ground, and the HR implications of including an assault course in inductions for new staff. Diane Mace, our new chief people officer, looks doubtful but agrees to socialise the idea with the Staff Council and bring recommendations to the next meeting. 

Editor: Julian Patterson


Andrew Williams
Andrew Williams says:
Feb 07, 2020 03:12 PM

As educational as ever. Can anybody offer guidance on the level of CPD credits I can claim for reflecting on these articles?

Anonymous says:
Feb 07, 2020 04:27 PM

I do enjoy these each week, they do make me giggle! 'Plan for excellence and hope for the best' made me laugh out loud but data as population health management is only too true!

Anonymous says:
Feb 10, 2020 11:04 AM

I like how it took " accelerated engagement, consultation and feedback" for us to know what now needs to be done. And it's conveniently summed up in a no more than 6 bullet points!