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We’re Blithering


Blog headlines

  • 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.

  • 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.”

Friday, 4 August 2017

We’re Blithering

A personal message from Martin Plackard, NHS Blithering’s director of person-centredness and digital intimacy

Dear Stakeholder, Citizen, Patient, Carer, Friend, Family Member or Colleague

Welcome to the latest edition of We’re Blithering. The quarterly e-bulletin is our opportunity to share with you the latest exciting plans for your local NHS. It’s also your opportunity to hold us to account and make your voice heard.

According to NHS England figures, Blithering is one of the best places to get ill. Going forward we intend to make it one of the best places to get better too.

Remarkable statistics

Here are some remarkable statistics from the recent Blithering Patient Survey:  

  • 98% of residents said they would sooner access NHS services in Blithering than travel to another country for treatment
  • 87% said they were able to get an appointment with a personal trainer or other health professional in the past 12 months. More than half had been able to speak to a GP by phone or view their details online
  • 76% of those who had heard of the STP thought it was doing anything up to a great job.

So all of the evidence points to very significant progress, but there is still more to do. As the searching review by independent think tank the Rummage Trust put it recently, “There has been significant progress, but more still needs to be done”.

The analysis by Dr Rummage and his team informed the refresh of the Blithering Forward View, entitled Next Horizons, where we’ve been able to realign some of the key goalposts to the needs of the changing playing field landscape and the capabilities of the main players.

Next Horizons sets out three core priorities for the future: to identify the issues, address the barriers and exceed expectations. We’ll be publishing a robust evaluation framework for these goals in due course. 

Underarching objectives

Underneath the overarching aims were a number of detailed proposals and recommendations, or underarching objectives. They include the sale of non-essential hospital property including buildings, land and staff, which is long overdue as services move into the community. As Blithering’s primary care develops at-scale capability to include mole removal, treatment for varicose veins and car parking, fears about the closure of A&E and outpatient departments will prove to be unfounded.

Selling off surplus capacity will be good news for local businesses and jobs, enabling the construction of a new distribution centre for local employer Rumstrad Electronics, for example.


Demolition of the maternity and paediatric units could also help us avoid the potential embarrassment and expense of replacing the chipboard based fire-retardant cladding installed by our PFI contractors.

Workforce remains our number one priority. We recognise particularly the value of the work done by our nurses, but as the secretary of state Mr Hunt put it so well on the radio earlier this week, we also have to respect the decisions of the independent pay review body HM Treasury.

Mr Hunt also promised to recruit a further 21,000 frontline professionals in mental health. This is very welcome news. Mental health services in Blithering have been under increasing strain from delusional people claiming to have seen thousands of new GPs entering training following Mr Hunt’s last imaginary job-creation scheme.

Parity of enthusiasm

We take parity of esteem very seriously but we’ll also be looking to recruit professionals that offer the best value for money to the taxpayer. This will include the new role of Mental Health Enthusiast, which could suit school leavers, the long term unemployed or anyone with time on their hands.

We’ll update you on our progress towards each of these challenging goals in future editions of We’re Blithering. Meanwhile, please tell us what you think by visiting the “Have Your Say” page of our website, where we’ll have a form ready for your feedback very soon.

Newsletter editor: Julian Patterson


Judy Aldred
Judy Aldred says:
Aug 04, 2017 12:04 PM

Depressingly accurate!