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Motivation, the Blithering way

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Blog headlines

  • Purdah – guidance for professionals
    15 November 2019

    After Christmas and the HSJ Awards, purdah is Martin Plackard’s favourite time of year.

  • Tools honoured in Blithering awards
    8 November 2019

    The Blithering Celebrating Success Awards are always eagerly anticipated. Every November, they recognise the commitment and dedication of people who put other people at the heart of everything they do before going the extra mile in their shoes. They also reflect the passionate belief of the organisers, Spume Media, in an awards-led approach to healthcare improvement science.

  • Provisional findings of the interim report
    31 October 2019

    The programme delivery group at One Blithering, the emergent NHS Blithering integrated care system, has published an interim report containing the provisional findings of a year-long strategic review.

  • Toast
    25 October 2019

    "The biggest complaint about the NHS which is beloved by everyone is about the food, and the biggest complaint about the food is about the lack of toast.”

  • Plackard’s misdirection and a victory for old power
    17 October 2019

    In which no one can find Plackard's signposting event, an old foe returns from his past and Sir Trevor Longstay loses interest in compassion

  • Sir Trevor defends revolving door
    4 October 2019

    Sir Trevor Longstay has hit out at proposals designed to make it harder for failed NHS directors to get new jobs with no questions asked.

  • The Blithering ICS newsletter
    27 September 2019

    Every month, the Project Management Office (PMO) of the Blithering ICS, All of Us Blithering Together, publishes a strategic briefing for stakeholders.

  • Is obeying the law bad for your health?
    13 September 2019

    (With apologies to Private Eye’s A Doctor)

  • The innovation greenhouse
    5 September 2019

    Faced with ordinary problems that they cannot solve – lack of funds, staff shortages, rising demand, falling morale (you know the ones) – our leaders propose extraordinary solutions.

  • The inclusivity summit
    15 August 2019

    As ever, Sir Trevor Longstay knew exactly what he wanted. “This has to be an exclusive event. I want all the right people there – and a decent lunch. See to it Plackard,” he said.

  • Old Matt, new Matt: Mr Hancock’s diary
    8 August 2019

    Proud to be in Boris’s cabinet but a bit peeved to be back at Health and the Other Thing. BJ hinted at the Home Office or the Foreign Office but I gather he said that to everyone.

  • The people's druggist
    1 August 2019

    The NHS is to recruit more than 1000 social apothecaries to work in primary care networks.

  • NHS Frameworx promises 'relentless focus on tools'
    25 July 2019

    NHS England and Improvement has created NHS Frameworx, a semi-autonomous delivery unit for toolkit innovation and best practice.

  • Plackard’s guide to impactful messaging as part of the NHS Long Term Plan
    19 July 2019

    What are you doing to implement the NHS Long Term Plan in your area? You should by now be talking about it in everything you do. Impactful communications is the key to delivery – and volume is the key to achieving impact. This toolkit and comprehensive suite of accompanying resources, by the NHS’s leading strategic communicator, Martin Plackard, aims to help others to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan’s central message that the plan is working.

  • Blithering Stakeholder News
    12 July 2019

    All the latest BS news from the country’s most challenged health economy. In this edition we cover the progress of an IT project under the personal direction of Sir Trevor Longstay, plus an update on the hospital's financial improvement plan and exciting news from the patient experience programme

  • Martin Plackard’s implementation framework
    5 July 2019

    This week, NHS Blithering's communications supremo Martin Plackard, looks forward to delivering the commitments of the NHS Long Term Plan. But first he has to reassure Sir Trevor Longstay, head of the Blithering STP, that the newly published NHS England Implementation Framework leaves plenty of scope for local determination

  • Make time for values
    21 June 2019

    Most of us would like to be more values-based, but finding the time can be tricky.

  • Matt Hancock’s campaign diary
    14 June 2019

    Quit while you’re ahead. That’s one of my mottos. Discretion is the better part of valour. That’s another.

  • At the watering hole
    6 June 2019

    Sir Trevor Longstay frowned. “Is ambition the right word?” he asked.

  • My bold idea
    31 May 2019

    As chief medical officer I am often asked, “What will solve childhood obesity?” The obvious answer is me.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Motivation, the Blithering way

In which Sir Trevor Longstay seeks recognition for his compassionate style of leadership and Roy Lilley nearly causes the death of David Rummage

“Do your best, Plackard,” said Sir Trevor Longstay.

The ageing knight of the realm and leader of Better Off Together Community Healthcare, NHS Blithering’s aspiring integrated care provider, was smiling, but his tone was menacing.

“Of course, Sir Trevor,” replied the country’s leading healthcare-related communications professional, looking far from convinced.

The previous year, Longstay had been named Inspirational Leader of the Year by the HSJ, which had been a considerable PR coup for Plackard and a humiliating experience for everyone else, when a clearly inebriated Sir Trevor used his acceptance speech to berate the audience and insult the editor.

Later he had to be escorted from the building after female delegates complained about behaviour unbecoming of an inspirational leader.

Plackard tried to explain that the chances of a second award this year were slim.

“But it’s a different award, man,” declared Sir Trevor.

Plackard wore the expression of a man whose scalp had suddenly and unexpectedly shrunk, causing minor disruption to his face. “Yes, I agree that you would normally be a perfect candidate for a Compassion in Leadership award, but I wonder if, in the circumstances…”

He tailed off.

Sir Trevor frowned. “Meaning what, exactly?” he demanded.

Dr David Rummage looked up from his phone. “The sackings, the allegations of bullying, the hectoring emails, the rumours of punishment beatings,” he suggested.

Sir Trevor shrugged.

“We didn’t tolerate allegations in my day,” he said.  

The meeting broke to allow people to pretend to answer urgent emails and to smoke in the car park.

Rummage returned with a plate of Hobnobs – a gift from Roy Lilley. “Came with some teabags. Roy even signed the packet,” he explained. There were murmurs of admiration for the biscuits, the teabags and their generous donor.

When the meeting came to order, Myra Scope, strategic lead for engagement, impact and experience, outlined her plans for new virtual recognition and reward programmes.

Scope had been responsible for the Towards Excellence scheme, where patients were invited to nominate staff for Simply Doing Their Jobs or for Being Nice to Me When I Was Ill.

Towards Excellence had become a national programme with a personal endorsement from Simon Stevens. Now she had some new ideas.

The board soon agreed that Blithering Stars was the most promising. Frontline professionals who went the extra mile to get to work when it was raining could earn Thank You for Caring credits and extra followers on social media.

Scope explained how having gold stars to stick on their fridges would boost the morale of staff who didn’t feel valued in their jobs or hadn’t had a decent pay rise in years.

Rummage chuckled and helped himself to a biscuit. 

Scope went on to outline her Making a Difference scheme for the mental health trust, but agreed to go back to the drawing board after being advised that it didn’t shorten well.

There was a brief pause while medical help was summoned for Rummage, whose attempts to stifle laughter during a critical phase of Hobnob ingestion had ended badly.

After the paramedics had left, Plackard took the opportunity to point out the PR risks faced by those planning health campaigns. He reminded colleagues that the initial good press for the Blithering Health Champions scheme had been spoilt by the video evidence of drug-taking at the first Wellbeing Summit. The pub brawl after a chance meeting of rival gangs of Blithering Flu Fighters had also attracted unfortunate headlines.   

The meeting ended with a vote to find out if Sir Trevor had shown inclusive and compassionate leadership. The enthusiastic show of hands demonstrated clearly that he had.

Editor: Julian Patterson