The 2021 Blithering Awards

The Blithering Awards were held online this year. For those unable to afford a virtual table at the live event, here is a transcript of the speech given by Blithering’s director of communications and recognition, Martin Plackard, who co-hosted the awards with hilarious local comedian and club performer Terry Crout. Please note that several – in fact most – of Mr Crout’s comments have been redacted after complaints about offensive content.

Martin Plackard: We were unable to hold the Blithering 2021 Health Awards at their usual venue for obvious reasons, but we hope to be back in the sumptuous surroundings of the ballroom at the Palace Hotel next year. Many of you will be aware that the Palace is undergoing major refurbishment works after a carelessly discarded cigar caused a fire on the evening of last year’s awards. The hotel’s management have since expressed gratitude to Sir Trevor Longstay for his generous contribution towards the cost of repairs and agreed to drop legal proceedings.

Every year the Blithering Awards celebrates the success of local health service leaders and staff, not forgetting the patients who make it all possible. Their continuing endorsement of local services remains as strong as ever. During 2020, we saw a marked increase in the use of services, particularly ambulances and hospital beds, clearly demonstrating that we’re doing something right here in Blithering. On behalf of everyone who works in and uses our fabulous service I just want to say a big thank you.

Whether you have a long-term condition, an unhealthy lifestyle or an accident with a ladder or a power tool during lockdown, each of you is doing your bit to support the local health and care system. We salute you. We couldn’t do it without you.

Anyway, on with the awards.  

Terry Crout: [Long, smutty passage with racist and sexist comments redacted] The award for Worforce Initiative of the Year goes to Linda Hu

Linda Hu: Thank you, Terry. I’m delighted to accept this award for our work on employee satisfaction. Our aim was to increase the tangible joy of staff through a series of initiatives including virtual mindfulness sessions to support people to deal with stress caused by spending long periods in Teams and Zoom meetings, and virtual bliss workshops to enable staff to build on their personal resilience and reach a state of tangible joy during each and every working day. The success of the programme was reflected in this year’s staff survey results which saw a striking 0.6% decrease in the numbers of people who said they planned to leave the organisation “immediately” or “as soon as possible”.

Terry Crout: [Enquiry about the whereabouts of Tangible Joy redacted] The award for Transformation Leader of the Year goes to Bev Heaver.

Bev Heaver: It’s an honour and a privilege to accept this award on behalf of the Distant Vistas team, formerly the Forward Views Unit. In a year when we had to say goodbye to the old normal, we weren’t content to focus on the new normal but asked you to imagine what the next new normal and the one after that would look like. Then we asked you to co-work with us to plan the journey together. Remarkable numbers of you signed up for our virtual unconference series “New Power with Me at the Centre” and “My Leadership Role in an Asynchronous World”. You told us you were happy to give up your time if it meant you could learn to become better at avoiding “traditional” work.

We used powerful self-discovery tools, such as Sven Gonadssen’s “Which Donut Are You?” to determine how we feel at the start of meetings and what we can learn from other people’s donuts. In fact, I’ve got a set of unslides here which…

Terry Crout: [Interruption including innuendo about Bev Heaver’s “massive deck” redacted] Thanks, Bev. Now we’re going to hear from my co-host Martin Plackard, winner of Communications Initiative of the Year for his work on the vaccination programme. [Comment about Plackard’s tie redacted.]

Martin Plackard: Thanks Terry, it was a gift as it happens.

Well, I couldn’t be more shocked and surprised to be getting this award [interruption from Crout about Plackard’s role as chair of the judging panel redacted], but I’m humbled and obviously very proud. As you know, one of the biggest challenges of the past year has been to overcome the reluctance of some groups to receive the Covid vaccine in the face of a lot of anxiety and misinformation, much of it spread by irresponsible and ignorant people on social media.

So we designed a campaign to build awareness around the importance of getting the jab and asked Dr David Rummage, as a trusted representative of the clinical community, to take time away from his demanding frontline duties as a part-time PCN strategic adviser to front it. The videos of Dr Rummage vaccinating community leaders and our hard-hitting campaign slogans Do the Decent Thing, Try Not to Worry and We’ll Call You When We’re Good and Ready have made a huge difference to public opinion.

I’m particularly proud that our jargon-free campaign materials have managed to get important messages across in plain English – such as our recent letter asking people to maximise cohort penetration and help us ensure a flexible, scaled up and diversified service.

Terry Crout: [Numerous remarks about Plackard and penetration redacted.] So finally, to the most important part of the proceedings, I’d like to invite Sir Trevor Longstay to receive the award for Chief Executive of the Year. [Remarks about cigars and the fire brigade redacted.]   

Sir Trevor Longstay: I’m shocked and gratified to receive this award yet again. You will doubtless be aware that previous recipients of these awards have been embroiled in scandals. My predecessor Sir Hugh Spokes is, I believe, at liberty again after his unfortunate brush with the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, while the recipients of other major awards have suffered varying degrees of disgrace for alleged bullying, nepotism and witch-hunts against suspected whistleblowers – all, I’m afraid, symptoms of the intolerant times we very senior managers are obliged to live through.

Be that as it may, I can assure you that in the unlikely event that any skeletons are found in my closet, Plackard is under strict instructions to explain them away as participants in one of Joy Hunter’s schemes for deprived communities [nervous laughter redacted].

But seriously, I’m immensely proud that my leadership has been recognised by all of the staff who responded to my email setting out the voting procedure and reminding them of the impending deadline for their annual reviews. I asked you to vote with your conscience, and once again you did. Thank you all.

Terry Crout: [Comments about Sir Trevor’s leadership style and sobriety redacted] Well, that’s it for another year ladies and gents. Now we’ve just got time to mention this year’s other winners after a few more words from my co-host Martin Plackard.

[Long monologue about compassion and the spirit of collaboration in the “year of Covid” by Plackard – redacted. Followed by brief slide show listing minor award-winners accompanied by Tina Turner’s Simply the Best at full volume.]

Freedom to Speak Up Organisation of the Year

Sir Trevor Longstay, whose Open Door policy helped Blithering to register the lowest number of safety related complaints of any organisation.

Health Service Local Government Partnership of the Year

NHS Blithering and Blithering District Council working together as the Building Back Better Blithering ICS – special “Stronger Together” award to council leader Alan Spume (received in his absence by Sir Trevor Longstay).

Twitter Clinical Leader of the Year

Dr David Rummage for his long-running #IHaveMyDoubts campaign questioning the safety of Covid vaccines and the efficacy of face masks on social media.

Primary Care Network of the Year

West Blithering Healthcare Collaborative for employing a community pharmacist to take care of hospital discharge letters and other paperwork, freeing up GPs to complete vital application forms for additional PCN funding.

Environmental Project of the Year

Sir Trevor Longstay for planting a tree at the Blithering Community Healthy Living Space (formerly the recreation ground at the back of the Asda superstore).

Integrated Service of the Year

ICS lead Joy Hunter for the Safer Car Parks scheme, which provided place-based drug counselling and sexual health services to young people from a specially converted ice-cream van.  

© 2021 Julian Patterson


  1. markdwilkinson66 says:

    Thanks Julian – laugh out loud funny – and just a couple of days after the HSJ awards. Particularly liked the non participation of the Council Leader.


    1. Is there another industry awards? I had no idea.
      Blithering’s health service and local government leaders credit mutual non-participation with the success of their working relationship


  2. The ice-cream van could be a genuinely good idea!


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