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The Blithering ICS newsletter


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • Tools honoured in Blithering awards
    8 November 2019

    The Blithering Celebrating Success Awards are always eagerly anticipated. Every November, they recognise the commitment and dedication of people who put other people at the heart of everything they do before going the extra mile in their shoes. They also reflect the passionate belief of the organisers, Spume Media, in an awards-led approach to healthcare improvement science.

  • Provisional findings of the interim report
    31 October 2019

    The programme delivery group at One Blithering, the emergent NHS Blithering integrated care system, has published an interim report containing the provisional findings of a year-long strategic review.

  • Toast
    25 October 2019

    "The biggest complaint about the NHS which is beloved by everyone is about the food, and the biggest complaint about the food is about the lack of toast.”

  • Plackard’s misdirection and a victory for old power
    17 October 2019

    In which no one can find Plackard's signposting event, an old foe returns from his past and Sir Trevor Longstay loses interest in compassion

  • Sir Trevor defends revolving door
    4 October 2019

    Sir Trevor Longstay has hit out at proposals designed to make it harder for failed NHS directors to get new jobs with no questions asked.

Friday, 27 September 2019

The Blithering ICS newsletter

Every month, the Project Management Office (PMO) of the Blithering ICS, All of Us Blithering Together, publishes a strategic briefing for stakeholders.

Here is an easy-read version of the newly published August edition, which has just been signed off by the Project Management Board (PMB) under the chairpersonship of Sir Trevor Longstay.

PMO briefing purpose
This briefing contains a monthly overview of the highlights, intentions, ambitions and commitments for each of the portfolios of the All of Us Blithering Together ICS. Key stakeholders are invited to utilise the briefing for communication and dialogue with other key stakeholders, including patients, persons and members of the public, where relevant.

ICS Board key messages
The following emerged from the formal meeting in June. Action points will go forward to the interim meeting in November for deliberation and potential further action by portfolio leads.

  • The ICS Board received an update from Martin Plackard, head of impact, on the proposed strategic narrative for the All of Us Blithering Together ICS. The working title Draft Strategic Narrative is to be refreshed, with the new working title Final Strategic Narrative to go to the next full board meeting in February 2020 for approval ahead of a public consultation on the title of the ultimate final strategic narrative later that year. The interim paper will now go to CCG governing bodies, the provider trust board and the local authority leadership team. It is supported by a next steps document which sets out 94 priorities for the way we work as a system, provisionally entitled Next Steps for the Way We Work as a System: Keeping it simple.
  • The Board received an update with regard to the status of operational and financial plans across the ICS footprint. All operational plans have been submitted by commissioners and providers at ICP (place) level. The Board noted that unaligned plans would be subject to managed alignment by the Operational and Financial Planning Joint Committee (OFPJC) going forward.
  • All organisations in the Blithering ICS have expressed their support, in principle, to accept a system control total on the basis that 15% of organisational finance could be put at risk if the ICS as a whole fails to meet its aggregated control total of minus £139m. A proposed opt-out from the risk sharing agreement in which partner organisations could recalculate their risk exposure (the so-called “circumstances beyond their control total”) will be debated at a joint heads of finance meeting before the next formal meeting of the OFPJC.
  • The report and recommendations of the review of Blithering mental health services concluded that current difficulties facing people with mental health problems are the result of failings of the whole system and are therefore, technically, nobody’s fault. Sir Trevor Longstay observed that while the ICS leadership had been exonerated by Lady Longstay’s thoroughgoing review, there was no room for complacency elsewhere in the system. 

Primary care network open day
Dr Khan and partners hosted an open day to demonstrate the concept of primary care at scale. ICS stakeholders were able to observe as patients in an optimal 40,000 population neighbourhood were treated by multidisciplinary teams of GPs and practice nurses. The stakeholders witnessed skilful signposting by the reception team who directed patients from a holding area or “waiting room” to the appropriate “consulting room” – often at another, more convenient location. They were also impressed by the high-tech appointment booking and triage system where patients who contact the surgery by telephone are offered a range of pre-recorded options such as “call back later”, “leave a message” or “try the hospital”.  Dr David Rummage, GP and medical director at Blithering CCG, said: “The remarkable work of Dr Khan and his team is a testament to the power of leadership and the transformative effect of collaboration.” Dr Khan has subsequently agreed to lead the initiative to turn primary care into robust and credible building blocks for integrated whole-system change.

ICS programme evaluation
The first report of the Realtime Evaluation Team, originally due in March, has been further delayed due to unforeseen technical issues. It will be circulated to key stakeholders as soon as possible. A limited number of paper copies of the Interim Realtime Evaluation Report can be collected from Blithering CCG. Contact Reception to reserve your copy and for the entry code to the car park.

Integrated transformation editor: Julian Patterson


Steve Smith
Steve Smith says:
Sep 27, 2019 08:23 AM

I love this. I must have spent too long down the rabbit hole - I'd read half of it before I realised it was a spoof!

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Sep 27, 2019 11:01 AM

I think you should forgive yourself. It's very closely based on a real ICS document

Jody Deacon
Jody Deacon says:
Nov 22, 2019 02:02 PM

I love it, I work on ICS maturity and it reads perfectly well! Thank you for making me smile.