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Social distancing the Longstay way


Blog headlines

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    2 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    1 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article - Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective.

  • Celebrating innovation in eye research
    24 September 2020

    This week Julian Jackson from VisionBridge has shared a report on eye research.

  • Link of the week: Comprehensive Spending Review and Covid-19
    24 September 2020

    This week we are sharing a blog that outlines the funding pressures and uncertainties faced by the health and care system

  • 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.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Social distancing the Longstay way

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

As a very senior manager I’ve always preferred to take a system-level view of the world. The current crisis has made it clear that I was right to stay out of the fray.

Those chief executives fond of saying that they like to roll up their sleeves, muck in with their teams or “walk the floor” hugging their subordinates, fraternising with nurses and “engaging” with patients now have cause to reflect on their folly.

They are confined with their families watching drivel on Webflix, pressure-washing the patio and helping their children with their homework. I’m proud to say I have never hugged another human being, let alone helped a child. These are core principles of my personal infection control strategy. 

None of the measures imposed by the government are new to me.

Lady Longstay and I started practising social distancing early on in our marriage. For hygiene reasons she insisted on a strict self-isolation policy, which is only relaxed at Christmas and on my birthday. Even then, she remains a stickler for the two-metre rule. Recent events have fully vindicated her caution.

System-wide parking

I drive a large car, not because I feel that I’m superior to everyone else (it’s for others to make such judgements) but because I like a clear view of the road ahead at all times – and to scan the horizon for game-changing opportunities, as Plackard is fond of saying.

Driving a Lexus VSM hybrid means I need plenty of space to park. A&E is frequently busy these days, so I no longer feel able to take up space required by ambulances and have been obliged to resort to the car park.

Fortunately, as a mark of gratitude for fast-tracking their bid through the recent procurement, the operators of our parking concession have kindly made an extra-wide complimentary space available for my use for as long as the franchise lasts. 

My robust, no-nonsense driving style encourages other drivers to maintain a respectful braking distance and keeps pedestrians on their toes. Road safety is everyone’s business. 

The same principles apply in the workplace.

According to our vision statement, the Blithering Integrated Care System is founded on notions of partnership, equality and inclusion. Of course it’s a mistake to take this sort of thing too far. In my experience collaboration attracts the wrong sort of people and is a breeding ground for unhealthy ideas.

I’m reminded of when GPs began to demand a “voice” in the ICS – a notion that was never intended to be taken literally. Blithering has hundreds of practices. It’s difficult to think of a bigger risk to public health than a mass gathering of doctors.

A seat at the table

So I’m grateful to David Rummage for developing our strategy for safely involving them. Rummage is a portfolio GP who divides his time between committees, conference sessions and his Virtual Triage consulting business, so he has plenty of experience of clinical risk avoidance.

His advice was to give GPs the seat at the table they were asking for – but only one, so they have to take it in turns. Making it slightly smaller than the others by cutting an inch or so off the legs also ensures that the seat-holders never get above themselves.

What does any of this have to do with the current crisis? How can we apply these valuable lessons? Is there an end in sight?

I don’t pretend to have all or indeed any of the answers, but I will share with you the three words that those who know me well have heard many times – words that every top leader should remember in a crisis: stay well away.

How you use them is up to you.

Editor: Julian Patterson