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CCG seeks to rule the world

NHS North Hampshire CCG has been watching too much James Bond. They came over all ‘Ernst Stavro Blofeld’ after Pulse asked them about their plans for co-commissioning primary care with NHS England.

The CCG sent back a response that said its plans were ‘considered to be a trade secret at this time’. It went on to say that if the ‘information was disclosed it could be used by potential competitors to develop similar strategies’ and it could ‘impact on the CCG’s innovative and highly developed proposals’.

Sick Notes suspects the CCG must be developing a co-commissioning plan to take over the WORLD – mwa ha ha ha. We look forward to reading it.

Speaking of co-commissioning, another CCG included a wonderfully illustrated diagram to show that primary care was at the heart of its plans.



‘Have you met our new chair, Ernst Stavro Blowhard?’


It was in the shape of – wait for it – a heart. The diagram of the four chambers showed how GPs act as a ‘pressure valve’ that ‘feeds and supplies’ the rest of the NHS and ‘directs the flow’ of patients around the system. After that, Sick Notes could read no more cardiac comparisons and had to lie down.

The Friends and Family Test is one of those marvellous NHS inventions that involves patients in a such a simple information-gathering exercise that Sick Notes had assumed it lacked all meaning.

But this is incorrect. We discovered last month that the survey acts as crucial protection against the use of weapons of mass destruction within the NHS.

The man behind the policy is NHS England’s head of patients and information Tim Kelsey – a former Iraq War journalist who helped expose the use of chemical weapons in Iraq.

He explained at a recent meeting that the test is designed to give those at the ‘sharp end of care’ a real voice in how the NHS is run.

He added: ‘In many ways it’s very similar to the kind of voice that – in a sense – I as a journalist gave to those Kurdish children. It gives a real meaningful voice to people.’

What stirring words from the brave former journalist. We can now rest easy that any future evil dictator will never get a foothold in our NHS. Not on Mr Kelsey’s watch, that is for sure.

Halloween is a time for hiding in the house with the lights out, hoping the local ‘yoofs’ go somewhere else to trick, menace or steal hubcaps. But this All Hallows’ Eve, Sick Notes was mightily cheered by the ‘scary stories in five words’ shared by GPs on Twitter.

A number of potentially Booker-prizewinning responses included this from Dr Toni Hazell, a GP in Tottenham, north London: ‘Just a quick insurance form.’ Dr David Shephard, a GP in Leicester, said: ‘He’s definitely got ADHD, doctor.’ And Dr Kate Barnes, a GP in Buckinghamshire, tweeted: ‘Another thing while I’m here.’

But our favourite has to be from Family Doctor Association chair Dr Peter Swinyard (even though it is 10 words long) who clearly knows his horror references: ‘Could you see little Johnny? It really won’t take long.’ Aaaaah!

Sick Notes was amused to see NICE advice being beamed into the living rooms of the nation recently through the entertainment programme that films people watching TV, Gogglebox.

News that the institute had recommended nalmefene – the first drug to help reduce the pleasure of drinking for dependent drinkers – was met with surprise.

‘That is the whole point of drinking, isn’t it?’ said one viewer. ‘It is just replacing one drug with another,’ said another. Kate the vicar raised the prospect of using the drug during communion to stop penitent sinners from knocking back huge swigs of the sacramental wine: ‘There’s always someone at that rail who gulps it.’ Dom and Steph simply looked at each other in horror.

Sick Notes was privileged to be invited to the head office of the CQC in London last month, although the regulator may want to look at its confidentiality procedures. While waiting in reception, Sick Notes was able to overhear a rather heated conversation about a recent media enquiry submitted by the Hackney Gazette. It sounded like a juicy story – and the local paper should be praised for its diligence – but perhaps the commission’s spin doctors should conduct their conversations in private.

PR fail of the month. The manufacturer of the ‘versatile vinegar’ who claimed that just a splash of the sour stuff could ‘relieve just about any ailment you can think of’. How about severe optimism?