Word on the Web
Despite the BMA calling for a full withdrawal of the Health Bill and a less than convincing address at the NHS Confederation conference two weeks ago, Andrew Lansley was all smiles as he met members of the Air Ambulance crew, and their helicopter, in Cambridge today.
As HSJ’s Simon Lewis pointed out on Twitter earlier - who said Andrew Lansley can’t look relaxed?
The new Nuffield Trust website - nuffieldtrust.org.uk - launched last week and aims to provide the health and social care community with a platform for debate and analysis of healthcare reform.
Among the many enhancements, the Talks section will host video and audio content, including interviews, debates and presentations.
The site will also feature blogs from key figures in healthcare, and include pieces from its own team including director Jennifer Dixon, head of policy Dr Judith Smith and head of research Dr Martin Bardsley.
Nuffield Trust publications, research and comment will be available on the website, alongside web tools in the new Data and Charts channel.
It could almost be a joke: “Did you hear the one about the man who robbed a bank of $1 so he could get state healthcare?”
This is exactly what a North Carolina resident in the US did this month. The punchline is, it worked.
After losing his job and, with it, his health insurance, 59-year-old James Verone, who suffers from arthritis, a limp and carpal tunnel syndrome, walked into a local bank, requested the counter staff give him one dollar for a “robbery”, then waited for the police to arrive and arrest him.
To maximise his plight, he wrote to the local paper ahead of his crime, stating: “A bank robbery will have been committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind, but not sound body.”
Mr Verone certainly put his sound mind to good use; since being arrested, and jailed, he has been checked by nurses - and has a doctor’s appointment.
HSJ’s eagle-eyed reporter Simon Lewis spotted Andrew Lansley checking into the new lower ground floor outpatients department at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Not for urgent health reasons: Mr Lansley was simply opening the new facility.
The hospital’s chief executive Heather Lawrence said the state of the art department would offer patients a much improved experience; “an ‘airport-style’ quality of service”, no less.
So expect to find long queues, delays, lost personal belongings and people sleeping on the floor.
Usually, emergency treatments at nearly 200 feet in the air take place on low-flying aircraft. But his was not the case for one ambulance crew in London.
London Ambulance Service responded to an emergency call last Friday (27 May), where a person had been taken unwell on scaffolding at the Union Chapel in London, N1.
The service sent a motorcycle paramedic, an ambulance crew and their specialist hazardous area response team (HART) to the scene, probably not in the knowledge that the patient who was unconscious was fully at the top of the scaffolding.
Undeterred, the crews climbed ladders and scaffolding to reach him at the top of the Union Chapel spire - which stands 170 feet tall.
He was treated on a fire brigade platform before being lowered to the ground, and taken to University College Hospital as a priority.
You may remember a few weeks ago that Christopher Juliff was shortlisted for Hays and The Times PA of the Year 2011.
Well, Word on the Web is pleased to follow that up with the news that Mr Juliff, Diary, Visits and Events Manager to the NHS Chief Executive, was awarded second place at a ceremony at Flemings Hotel in Mayfair, London last month.
Mr Juliff said: “It’s a great feeling to be awarded a high place in this tough competition. I love my job and to be acknowledged for all the effort I put in is very satisfying.”
Christopher’s passion for his career and his expertise, along with his outstanding attention to detail in a high pressured environment, was singled out by the judges in awarding him second place. They also noted his strong personal commitment to the diversity agenda.
Christopher is pictured here receiving his award with Bethan Robbins, Hays regional director, and Michelle Mone, founder and co-owner of MJM International.
HSJ reported this week that there’s been a sharp rise in young people attending A&E due to restricted out of hours access to care – and parents won’t be happy if they find themselves waiting in line behind patients such as this one, reported by the BBC on Wednesday.
A&E departments can no doubt regale at length stories of truly unbelievable cases arriving at their doors. But they would be hard pressed to cite an example that less necessitated “emergency” attention than this.
The NHS is to be lampooned next month in a new Radio 4 satirical comedy co-written by Dr Phil Hammond.
Titled “Polyoaks”, the four-part series set in an NHS polyclinic focuses on two brothers who struggle to cope with the pressures of handling the clinic’s now-massive commissioning budget.
“Anyone who wants to know what’s really happening to the nation’s health service, but can’t wade through the 367 page Health & Social Care Bill, should listen to Polyoaks,” said a Radio 4 source.
HSJ readers will no doubt be tuning in to find out whether the satirical show actually turns out to be less off the wall than current events in the health service.
David Cameron’s speech on NHS reform at 11:30am yesterday morning did little more than redistribute well-worn Conservative soundbytes like “evolution, not revolution” and reaffirm the government’s robust commitment to pushing on with the process of change.
But will the prime minister show the same support to his beleaguered health secretary Andrew Lansley?
During the speech, Mr Lansley was nowhere to be seen. Despite the listening, pauses and advisers, Cameron had still taken it upon himself to, as BBC 4 political correspondent Norman Smith put it, “make the case for change all over again” - despite it being Lansley’s change he is having to defend.
The health secretary was only mentioned on one occasion during the speech, in passing, towards the end.
And with “substantive changes” again promised by Cameron as he seeks to calm opposition from all sides, the reforms appear to be moving further and further away from Lansley’s original vision.
It isn’t surprising, then, that the 5/1 odds on Lansley being the next Cabinet member to leave office put him second only to Chris Huhne, after allegations over the weekend that the energy secretary had asked other people to take the blame for speeding offences on his behalf.
But with Ladbrokes making Huhne odds on NOT to leave before 1 June, when the Steve Field-led Future Forum is due to report back to Cameron, Andrew Lansley must be cutting a lonely figure just now - and will be hoping he is still hanging on by the time the government announces its reform Plan B.
Not that many people in the NHS have gained national recognition this year for positive reasons.
But Christopher Juliff, NHS chief executive David Nicholson’s PA, has made the final shortlist in the Hays and The Times PA of the Year competition.
Despite entrant numbers being 60 per cent higher than last year, Christopher has remained in contention for the award and now goes into the final round of judging against five other PAs as the only man left in the running.
Mr Juliff, or to give him his full title, Diary, Visits and Events Manager to the NHS Chief Executive, is also the sole public sector representative with a chance of winning.
He says: “I am genuinely thrilled to have been named as one of the UK’s top PAs.
“People often don’t realise the increasingly complex and demanding roles that PAs play in an organisation, especially when working with a particularly senior leader, so it’s pleasing to have my dedication and input recognised.”
The Hays and The Times PA of the Year Award 2011 winner will be announced at a central London awards ceremony on 19 May 2011.
Mr Juliff might want to put that particular event in a few diaries: should he win, it would give the NHS some welcome cheer.