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Matt Hancock’s diary – a week of levelling up


Blog headlines

  • Risk stratifying elective care patients
    10 September 2020

    This blog has been shared by MBI healthcare technologies. As services are starting to treat routine patients those on waiting lists are making enquiries as to where they are on the list, and if they are still on the list.

  • Link of the week
    4 September 2020

    This week the link we would like to share are reflections from physiotherapy students on placement at Alzheimer Scotland https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/

  • Link of the week
    28 August 2020

    This week we would like to share a blog published on the Mind website about being a BAME health worker in the pandemic.

  • Remote clinical triage model
    20 August 2020

    This week we are sharing how a remote clinical triage model was implemented at Tollgate Medical Centre. This has been shared with us by Sarah Portway, a Nurse, and Clinical Services Manager at Tollgate Medical Centre.

  • Can the Community Pharmacy become the gateway to integrated care in the NHS?
    13 August 2020

    The NHS is a continually evolving innovative demand led public service the role of the Community Pharmacist is becoming the public face on a journey to the more responsible public engagement in the personal care of individuals and their family. There are currently over 11000 Pharmacies many are single or small chain service providers, while multiples occupy the urban shopping centres and more densely populated conurbations, the value of the rural High Street can’t be understated.

  • Crunch time for patient involvement
    7 August 2020

    There are new challenges for primary care, which could really do with patient input. Mike Etkind, chair of a PPG and founding member of his PCN’s patient group, recognises the size of the task clinical directors have managed over the last few months but identifies two particular issues where patients have a necessary and valuable contribution, that need to be addressed now – the 2020 vaccination programme and primary care from a distance- total triage, remote consultations, and the use of telemedicine.

  • 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.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Matt Hancock’s diary – a week of levelling up

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.

Dom says I need to show concern but mustn’t spread panic. “Not like Boris and the floods,” I say. Dom gives me one of his looks. “No, not like that,” he agrees.  

I tell Kay Burley I’m “pretty worried”, which strikes about the right note. Make sure I call it COVID-19 to show I’m on top of the science. I use the grave expression I practice by thinking of England losing the ashes or a favourite Labrador being put to sleep. Dom sometimes jokes that it’s my about-to-cry face. 

Love it or hate it

A man named Professor Sir Michael Marmite has been kicking up a fuss about health inequalities. He wrote a report about it ages ago which people feel very strongly about – some love it, others hate it. Anyway, his theory is that your life expectancy depends entirely on where you live, which is frankly bonkers.

According to Marmite, people in one area can live ten years longer than people just a few miles away. Why would people stay in a place where they are going to die young, when they can just hop on a bus and get to safety?

Marmite says it’s to do with social mobility. Perhaps he doesn’t own a car or lives a long way from the nearest bus stop.

DAFT idea

I’ve decided to replace the global digital exemplars with a tech scheme of my own. Exemplars were JH’s idea, so they really need to go. I hate to criticise Jeremy – and by the way it’s great that he’s got a part-time job running a committee after his failed bid to become PM – but there’s not much to show for the hundreds of millions pumped into exemplars and fast followers. That’s going to change on my watch, mark my words!

Our biggest challenge has been coming up with a name. Vanguards, beacons, pioneers, pathfinders and trailblazers have all been used before, but after some intensive brainstorming by my tech strategy unit NHSX we’ve settled on “digital aspirants”. I’ve asked NHSX to produce a slide deck to explain how digital aspirants are different to exemplars and to set out a streamlined process for trusts to reapply for funding.

When I mention it to JH, he is quite gracious. “It’s a very catchy name. I’m sure hospitals would be proud to be known as digital aspirant foundation trusts,” he says.

I’ve told NHSX to come up with a logo.

Infection control

Back at the office Lucinda is very moved when I present her with my SoS COVID-19 survival pack, which includes a face mask, hand sanitiser, packet of Tunes and a box of man-size tissues – part of the pre-Brexit emergency stock I ordered from Poundland. Thinking ahead is arguably my greatest strength.

She makes a funny squeaking noise as if she’s trying to hold in a sneeze – sneezing is one of the danger signs – but insists she’s okay. I’m keeping an eye on her and the rest of the team for symptoms. A man in my position can’t afford to get sick.

Safe pair of hands

Dom says I should go on telly to talk about health inequalities. I protest that the Marmite Report is old news and that nothing has changed since he wrote it ten years ago. But apparently there are new figures out that prove that things are getting worse. For some reason people are blaming the government and austerity.

The media are confusing health and economic policy, I protest. Dom agrees. Journalists are a pretty dim lot, he says, which is why we’re getting rid of them. “I would ask Rishi,” he says, “but we can’t even trust him to make a cup of tea, so I think you’d better handle it.”

“Just tell the BBC that you’re pretty worried about the gap but that we’ll close it by levelling up,” he says. I start to ask him what this actually means, but he gives me another one of his stares and I think better of it.

Decisive action

Write a letter to drug companies telling them to hurry up and find a cure for COVID-19. I want it on my desk on Monday morning just in case Lucinda really is going down with something.  

Diary editor: Julian Patterson


Sabbir Ahmed Rahman
Sabbir Ahmed Rahman says:
Feb 28, 2020 07:18 AM

Why does this feel like I am reading "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4"?