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The road to Rummylon


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

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  • Remote clinical triage model
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  • 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.

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    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, 10 November 2017

The road to Rummylon

Martin Plackard, Blithering’s head of horizontal and vertical issues, gave his most engaging grin, a smile guaranteed to melt the heart of a mother hyena. Then he scanned the first few lines of the document and his smile faded.

“I’m not sure this is quite right, David,” he said. “Some may consider it unhelpful.”

“Hell’s teeth, Plackard!  Bad enough to warrant the U word?” replied Dr David Rummage, the CCG’s lead for general practice development and high impact change.

“I’m afraid so, David. There are significant messaging challenges here.”

Plackard proceeded to work through the rest of the press release for WhatsUpDoc, the virtual GP service soon to be launched by Rummage’s clinical innovation incubator Rummylon.

Plackard studied the screen. “This section definitely needs softening,” he said.

“What’s wrong with it?” asked Rummage.

Plackard read aloud: “Tired of waiting weeks for an appointment? Sick of hanging around while old people hog the doctor? Worried about what you’ll catch in the waiting room? With WhatsUpDoc you can jump the queue, get the service you deserve and get to that vital sales meeting ahead of all the other losers.”

Rummage shrugged. “We’re aiming this at working people who want more convenience and choice,” he said. “People who just want to get a jab, order some antibiotics or check that the embarrassing itch that came on after the Christmas party is nothing to worry about.”

Plackard nodded. “Put like that it sounds quite appealing, but the media are bound to ask what it means to disadvantaged and older people or those with complex conditions. What would you say to them?”

“Not our core demographic, old boy,” said Rummage breezily. “Not my patient.”

Hard lines

“Where’s David?” asked Liz Wanhope, interim deputy co-accountable officer of the Blithering STP.

“He sends his apologies. He’s training physician telesales assistants at the Rummylon operations centre,” replied Plackard.

Wanhope looked blank.

“What used to be the Poundland on Station Road. He’s got it on a short-term lease,” Plackard explained.

Wanhope started the meeting.

“I’m sure everyone would like to join me in thanking Sir Trevor Longstay, who has decided to resign as chair of the Blithering STP and return to his old role at South Selvedge to continue the magnificent work of the vanguard.

Wanhope’s words were greeted with the sound of exaggerated coughing and suppressed laughter as people recalled the recent “Carnage at Selvedge” and “Where did all the money go?” headlines in the HSJ.

“Some of you will also be aware that before he left, Sir Trevor gave a courageous interview to the Argus, expressing his profound desire for change and his regret that he was unable to do more to make it happen in his position as leader of the Blithering health system,” she continued.

More coughing at the memory of Sir Trevor’s frank and fearless article entitled “Nothing is my fault” in which he blamed “faceless bureaucrats” and “workshy colleagues” for Blithering’s dire financial situation and worsening health outcomes.   

“Sir Trevor’s greatest regret,” concluded Wanhope, “was that despite his repeated promises to crack down on bullying with a rod of iron that he was unable to complete his zero tolerance campaign. But I’m sure you’ll agree that since Sir Trevor left we’re beginning to see the start of a more compassionate culture.”

Everyone agreed that they would miss Sir Trevor’s robust sense of humour. “My door is always open. Close it on the way out,” was a particular favourite.

It will end in tiers

Plackard turned off the radio. The president of the Royal College of General Practitioners had just concluded an interview in which she expressed “profound concerns” about Rummylon.

“She obviously thought she was on Farming Today,” said Rummage, bitterly. “All that talk of cherry-picking destabilising the NHS. I don’t know why Humphrys let her get away with it. What’s bloody fruit got to do with general practice?”

“I think she was saying that WhatsUpDoc might appeal to the younger more affluent sections of the population, leaving other NHS services to deal with the difficult cases,” Plackard said mildly. “We don’t want to end up with a two-tier system, do we?”

“Of course we do, Plackard,” said Rummage crossly. “It’s all about risk stratification or what we medics like to call market segmentation. Far more efficient. Think about it. What are GPs doing? Closing their lists. What are we doing? Creating access, adding capacity in the system.

“The brass love it. Matthew’s already got the app on his iPhone.

“And don’t worry about stability. Hospitals don’t want GPs meddling in urgent care. We’ll make sure we keep sending plenty of business their way.” 

Plackard raised an eyebrow. “I must admit, David, you’ve thought of everything.”

The two men laughed.

Somewhere, on a distant African plain, a hyena pricked up her ears. 

Wildlife editor: Julian Patterson


Anonymous says:
Nov 10, 2017 02:39 PM

Whatupdoc!? Priceless! :) Are we truly on the road to 'app-iness?

Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Nov 10, 2017 03:22 PM

The story obviously bears no relation to the news earlier this week about Babylon's GPatHand. But to answer your question, yes. Nobody objects to apps in general practice, the controversial part of the GPatHand service is that patients register as they would for any other practice but lose the benefits of a face to face service. So critics see it as good for young, healthy middle-class people, but not much use to anyone else. If you're older, for instance, it wouldn't be a case of WhatsUpDoc but ThatsAllFolks. My opinion, not that of my employer, etc.