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The road to Rummylon


Blog headlines

  • Link of the week: Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR)
    21 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a link to the Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) site that is funded by Health Education England.

  • So much more than an extra pair of hands
    14 January 2021

    The introduction of the additional roles reimbursement scheme for primary care networks has started to grow capacity in general practice to address the unsustainably high workload that has put so much pressure on GPs.

  • Primary Care Networks – how did we get here?
    7 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a blog by PCC’s chairman David Colin-Thomé.

  • A year like no other
    17 December 2020

    On 5 July 1948 the NHS was born, over the last 72 years challenges and changes have been remarkable but the service has probably never been tested as much as in the last nine months. There have previously been numerous re-organisations, multiple changes to hospitals, mental health services and a shift from the family doctor towards more integrated primary care services delivered by a range of professionals. However, rapid transformation of services to embrace digital technologies, and a shift change to work differently has been forced upon all areas of the health service this year.

  • Guest blog: David Hotchin
    11 December 2020

    This week we have a guest blog that was submitted to us by David Hotchin, written by a retired friend....obviously, he's used a little poetic licence.

  • What now for commissioning?
    3 December 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What White people don’t see
    26 November 2020

    This year’s Black History Month (BHM) has, unfortunately, in its shadow another example of why campaigns like this exist.

  • Primary Care: Why don’t we talk about Racism?
    20 November 2020

    Rita Symons is an ex NHS leader who is now a leadership consultant, coach and facilitator. Her work is mainly in the NHS and she is an associate for PCC offering facilitation, coaching, strategy development and team development activities. She is a concerned but hopeful world citizen and combines work in the NHS with a board role in a non for profit organisation and an interest in writing.

  • Primary Care and the Health of the Public
    12 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What now for primary care
    4 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • Boosting your resilience
    30 October 2020

    The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bounceabiliy” – but bouncing in what way?

  • 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/

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.