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The Blithering Chronicles: diary of a PCT manager


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Friday, 17 February 2012

The Blithering Chronicles: diary of a PCT manager

MONDAY Another grim day at the coalface. Flumoxin story all over the Argus on Friday. Local docs caught prescribing it by the kilo despite warning from NICE to steer well clear.

Popular with teenagers for rapid weight loss and speed-like buzz. Organ failure fears “unfounded” according to medical director, Dr David Rummage, citing weak evidence base. 

Sally Undertow, NHS Blithering new head of comms, remarkably upbeat. Story shows GPs in sympathetic light, putting patients first, no postcode lottery for vital drugs in Blithering. Giving uppers to kids all part of positive engagement strategy. 

TUESDAY Public health team not happy about imminent move to local authority. East Churlish District Council cash-strapped and desperate. “Ring-fenced” public health budget already earmarked for fixing potholes and pavements – both major PH risks, apparently. 

Email from comms banning use of the terms “GP”, “CCG” and “PCT”. From now on they’re “family doctors”, “doctors and nurses in charge” and “Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom”.

WEDNESDAY Top team meeting to announce QIPP plans. Tony “Turnaround” Torvill, director of finance for the Blithering, Loosely and Dourdale cluster, on smugger than usual form. 

Duty to hand over to CCG in state of financial balance, investment in new services cut, squeeze on referrals, sweat contracts with providers – all the usual stuff. 

Triumphant “Turnaround” shows Powerpoint with £160m “challenge“ magically transformed by “productivity opportunities” into a surplus of £9.35. Latent demand, waiting lists and other details to be sorted by newly authorised CCG, he explains. 

THURSDAY Government publishes new research to show “the vast majority of the public support NHS reforms” following a survey of ordinary people in Whitehall. 

Meeting with leaders of Blithering Care Partnership, the local CCG. Doctors Wanhope, Tremelo and Greener admit to nerves about authorisation prospects. I slip them copy of QIPP presentation, which seems to cheer them up considerably.

Press conference on new public health scheme about the dangers of “skunk” weed. Factsheet and free Kingsize Rizlas included with smoking “quit kits” in all Blithering community pharmacies. 

FRIDAY Argus runs story about impact of QIPP plans on the local hospital. Under banner headline “Vital ops cancelled as NHS cuts bite” the PCT is accused of rationing procedures to make the books balance. A photo montage shows a grinning “Turnaround” superimposed on a picture of a bulldozer and a large pile of rubble. A crowd of angry patients is Photoshopped in to complete the scene.

Tut-tutting from leading local GP, Dr Wanhope, who is quoted as saying her warnings went unheeded and patients will probably die. 

Councillor Alan Spume, chair of the Flushing and Minted NHS Foundation Trust, contrasts PCT mismanagement of the local health system with the council’s excellent record on highway maintenance.

Sally Undertow named as new acting director of finance, in addition to her comms and dental contract management duties.

Next week: Trouble at Blithering as Dr Rummage’s links with pharma industry exposed. Undertow takes top comms job at the NHS Commissioning Board. 


fjp7654321@gmail.com says:
Feb 17, 2012 11:19 AM
Brought a tear to my eye. What will we do for laughs when all the Blitherings have been disbanded?

The Blithering Care Partnership and its like have a lot to live up to!
duncan.stroud@nw.london.nhs.uk says:
Feb 17, 2012 04:57 PM
Call me a kill joy if you want, but I really don't know what the point of this article is or what we are meant to take from it. is it saying no one in the NHS knows what they are doing? Or that we are all totally incompetent in our jobs? Or there's no point in doing anything because its all doomed to fail?

One thing is clear though - time to cancel my subscription to the Blithering Chronicles.
jhotchkiss says:
Feb 19, 2012 09:33 AM
Surely the name should be The Blithering Long-Term Conditionsicle.
Unfortunately the grains of truth in this satire are more like pebbles, if not boulders. Made me laugh.
pdryder says:
Feb 20, 2012 10:51 AM
@Duncan - I think the word you are looking for here is "satire"? /shakesheadindisappointment/

The Blithering Chronicles and the doings of Dr Rummage et al bring a welcome smirk to my week. Keep it up!!