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Motivation, the Blithering way

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Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • 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.

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