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Sustainability and transformation parties: mandatory guidance


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • 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.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Sustainability and transformation parties: mandatory guidance

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.

In this year’s STP manual, now circulating on the dark web (www. england.nhs.uk), party-goers are encouraged to get ready for “meaningless relationships and the opportunity to form new bonds and tighten existing ones”.

Bottom-up movement

So how does it work? It starts with an invitation. You can’t just turn up. If you run a hospital you’re almost certainly on the list, mainly because you already have access to some pretty wild stuff – nurses’ uniforms, anaesthetics, clamps, money, that sort of thing.

It could be fun to invite a few GPs as long as they promise not to talk about workload – big turn-off – or their fantasies about flogging the NHS.

Don’t ask the local authority – after all this is supposed to be fun. Besides, they never turn up anyway. “Scrutiny” may sound intriguing, but it just means they want to keep their coats on and watch.

Key benefits

What to wear? Whatever you feel most comfortable in. Many prefer loose arrangements that can be slipped off with ease, but others like a tight outfit, particularly if they’re into “improvement”.  Choose leather or PVC if you plan to come as a financial regulator, chair of a governance committee or a CQC inspector.

When your guests arrive, everyone throws their keys in a bowl and then picks a set at random to choose a partner. But that’s just to get things going: the idea is to collaborate with everyone at least once during the course of the evening and preferably with multiple partners at the same time. 

Table-top exercise

Remember that it might take time for the participants to shed their inhibitions. They will be excited but not sure where it’s heading. Some will find it all disgusting and choose to go home early. Let them – this isn’t a statutory arrangement.

Others will be frightened of embarrassment and/or pain and will need to be coaxed before they agree to join in. If they’re shy, consider an ice-breaker involving everyone turning to the person next to them and telling them what they want to get out of the session. Then perhaps move on to a table-top exercise.

Improvement framework

There will be a range of different tastes and fetishes – try to accommodate them all. Hiring in special equipment? Great, but make sure everyone gets a turn on the framework. Of course there will need to be ties, but they shouldn’t be too tight. Start with informal commitments and work up from there. Don’t let anyone dominate unless everyone is into that sort of thing. System leadership is not everybody’s cup of tea.

Do not allow anything involving whips, chains or spanking without first agreeing terms of reference. A good STP needs governance and lots of it. Once that’s clear, you can set up a punishment regime in the kitchen or the cellar with robust performance management for those who have been very naughty. If you want to heighten the excitement, simply say: “I’m afraid I’m going to have to hold you to account for that…”

Finally, agree a safe word so that people can be released from the support chassis if they’re no longer enjoying themselves. 

Firm underpinnings

Above all, remember this is casual integration with no commitments – what happens at the programme board meeting stays at the programme board meeting. Phones to be handed in at the door – we don’t want any compromising selfies or shots of firm underpinnings being circulated on social media later.

Things are going to get pretty intense for the next couple of hours, but after all the uninhibited free love everyone will go back to their regular lives and pretend that nothing has happened. Just as they do after every other meeting.

Sport editor: Julian Patterson


Elizabeth Welsh
Elizabeth Welsh says:
Dec 05, 2019 06:00 PM

Great post

Jonathan Wells
Jonathan Wells says:
Dec 05, 2019 08:56 PM

This is brilliant! Julian has clearly been reading Nicholas Timmins' recent article on Integration from the Kings Fund where STPs and ICSs are defined almost entirely in terms of what they are not.

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Dec 05, 2019 10:21 PM

Thanks, both. I haven't read the Nick Timmins piece but I'll seek it out

Anonymous says:
Dec 06, 2019 09:28 AM

Your blog definitely cheered me up.. I am surprised that PC brigade has not dragged you through mud!!

Anonymous says:
Dec 06, 2019 02:47 PM

Tee Hee! Fabulous Friday Frivolity as usual, keep up the good work.