142,919 members

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


My amazing Twitter year – by Matt Hancock


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • Purdah – guidance for professionals
    15 November 2019

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

Friday, 20 December 2019

My amazing Twitter year – by Matt Hancock

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

I launch my five year plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance. People are wrong to resist antibiotics, which make you better when you’re ill. I won’t rest until everyone who wants antibiotics can get them from our wonderful NHS whenever they need them. I say as much to Dame Sally Davies who just shakes her head sadly and walks away.

Meet Bill Gates at very important global event about AMR. He agrees to a selfie with me, then asks who I am. Bill has a great sense of humour.

Tell GPs that they are the bedrock of the NHS when I launch a report into GP partnerships. Let my followers know that I’m very comfortable with the idea of same-profession relationships. This is 2019 for goodness sake!

Another selfie with a fellow achiever, this time it’s Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web. I suggest a coffee so I can tell him about my ideas for apps but he mutters something about a prior engagement. Missed opportunity for Berners-Lee.

Driving the digital agenda

Far from convinced that NHS Digital is driving digital transformation across the NHS, so I announce a tech unit of my own called NHSX. Outraged to learn that the NHS spends £8m on paper – that’s 0.006% of the entire NHS budget. One on the first jobs for NHSX is to use IT to wipe out this unacceptable waste.

I celebrate incredible mental health nurses and incredible people in general. “People are incredible,” I tweet.

Write a piece in The Times about genome sequencing. Not exactly sure how it works, but it involves tech innovation and it’s brilliant. Tweet about it along with a pic of me looking like the actor Nick Cage to drive home the point about the power of great genomes.

I tweet about another of the economic miracles this Conservative government has brought about – borrowing at its lowest level for 17 years. It’s a fantastic achievement that people from the humblest foodbank to the grandest home abroad can be proud of.

Taking a stand against things

We have to do more about breast cancer. I do my bit by posting about it every month. You don’t need to have breasts to join the campaign. I’m totally against cancer and always will be.

Go to a Croydon college to be photographed with some young people and learn about knife crime. Hear some terrible stories. When I was at school there were rumours about fifth-formers with penknives but I never actually saw one and as far as I know they were never used in anger. Times have changed!

Jeremy Corbyn is banging on about how the Conservatives are against the NHS. This is despite the quite literally record spending we’ve made in the past nine years. Next he’ll be telling us a Labour government came up with the idea!

It can’t be right that women in the NHS don’t earn as much as men, I write in The Guardian. “Inequality between the sexes is one of the things I care passionately about,” I tell Lucinda when she brings me a cup of tea and my mid-afternoon Twix.

Tweet about a great new app that directs patients to the emergency departments with the shortest queues. Hopefully this will encourage even more people to use the brilliant services on offer at A&E up and down the country.

Get behind a campaign to end period poverty in schools. It’s shocking to think that the least well off in society can’t afford periods – and the problem is apparently worst for girls.

Cutting-edge tech

Bit of a drama on my visit to a care home as elderly woman gets her cardigan stuck in the lift doors and has to be cut free with a pair of garden shears. As ever, Damian from comms helps me strike the right note on social media: “Terrific visit to Healthlands Village care home in Bury today - using cutting edge tech to enhance the quality of life for all residents.”

I give the keynote at an NHSX away day – not in person, of course, but via Skype. First of many such events I hope. Away days and virtual appearances by me are a big part of my strategy to transform the NHS.

Incredibly moving and dignified speech by the prime minister as she steps down. Who will volunteer to fill the void she leaves behind, I wonder.

I enter the race for prime minister. Touched that I am warmly encouraged by my team, even if it means I can no longer be their boss. They look very disappointed when I bow out graciously to leave the field clear for Boris. Try to console them by pointing out that the country’s loss is their gain.

Inspiring stories

I open a new emergency department. Another great opportunity for photos of me with my sleeves rolled up chatting to hard-working frontline staff. I thank them for sharing their inspiring stories. Lucinda writes them down so we can tweet about it later.

What a fantastic general election. I campaign tirelessly, getting up before dawn to hug people and make videos. Thanks to me we’ll soon have 40 new hospitals, 50,000 more nurses and 6000 extra GPs. Can’t wait to get cracking, so I ask Boris when the building programme is due to start. He laughs and gives me one of his friendly punches.

Speculation about my role in the new government. Promotion would be a nice reward for my hard work on the stump. I drop broad hints about a move to the Home Office, Foreign Office or the Treasury. Overhear cabinet secretary saying “For God’s sake keep him at Health”. A victim of my own success!

Keeping it real

Quick meeting to plan the video of my triumphant return to the Department. Tell everyone to get there by 9.30. Stevens mumbles something about another meeting. “This is more important, Simon,” I tell him gravely when he offers his apologies.

Everything runs like clockwork. I arrive, hug colleagues and make a short speech saying I’ll “drive the health agenda forward” (came up with this myself). Even Stevens looks impressed, though he’s disappeared by the time I’ve finished speaking – probably off to do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping.

Everyone agrees that the video captures another great spontaneous moment in what has been a fabulous year.


Social media editor: Julian Patterson



Anonymous says:
Dec 22, 2019 12:34 PM

Not as good as previous two weeks

Julie Upton
Julie Upton says:
Dec 23, 2019 09:11 AM

I'm sorry,Anonymous, but really, that's your comment? Are you related to Ebenezer Scrooge?
Your comment may or may not be accurate in your opinion, but personally I want to thank Julian for his weekly blog. Always funny, always topical, always a bit near the knuckle, often so near the truth it's scary and sometimes so hilarious the people in the next door office come in to see what I'm laughing at.
Thank you Julian for another year of great blogs. Merry Christmas to one and all.

Lynne Chellingworth
Lynne Chellingworth says:
Dec 25, 2019 09:25 AM

Hear, hear Julie. I saved this one for my Christmas morning treat and was not disappointed. Thanks Julian - always a delicious skewer to savour.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 27, 2019 10:05 AM

Thanks for your comments, folks - even Ebenezer. I wish you all a very happy 2020.