Best Blog Awards – A Toot on Our Own Trumpet

We wrote almost 60 blogs in 2012 and we commemorate some of the most memorable with our very own BEST BLOG AWARDS. The January newsletter with which we kicked off 2012, eschewed prediction, preferring to go off on a riff about a Goon show, Simon Gray the late playwright, finishing with a reference to the genius illustrator Ronald Searle . All had died that year leaving great gaps in our national life. Was this a sad omen for the NHS? Certainly the commentariat was continually reading the last rites over the grave of the NHS. As Andrew Craig asked later in the year ‘is NHS doom-saying contagious?’

A contrast, a change of mood is needed. So we have set up some reasonably random categories and dished out Awards to ourselves to celebrate twelve month’s fun writing.

Feel free to nominate your own under these categories or indeed invent some more categories of your own and give us your winners under those. Perhaps you have written something of your own that you would like to celebrate – tell us about it and if it fits, we will publish it here.

Most thoughtful and thoughtprovoking Blog of the Year – this has to be Caroline Millar’s 2000 word piece in January 2102 on what it feels like to be on the receiving end of what she called ‘Bile Man’s tenth post of the day’. As a volunteer Caroline took on the job of the chair of the local park user group and found herself transformed in the eyes of some from the interested enthusiast and user representative to the corrupt instrument of the powers that be, as people reacted to the new cafe – and what the press insisted on calling its posh new menu – in the restored park. The classic trigger of engagement has always been ‘Taking It Away” – Caroline suggests a new one ‘Giving Something New’. Being seen as the person who did and carries the can rather than the user representative who just gave a view and won’t be blamed is a sobering change of perspective.

Best Headline of the YearEnfin the Information Strategy – Le Noble Oblige. The Earl Howe obliged us all by discussing the much delayed NHS Information Strategy. Runner up – I must declare a weakness for Phlebotomy Phiasco – an account of going for a blood test where the original 2010 blog got another go-around in December 2012 in a tribute to a considerably improved service. Never let it be said that we are ever the nay-sayer.

Most Reaction – Andrew Craig used local sources to identify which GP Practices in Wandsworth had got the DES award associated with patient engagement efforts. We were amazed by the number of GPs who had suddenly become sharp-eyed readers of the blog and were disappointed at not being on the list. The blog was specific, accurate (at the time) and timely – a palpable hit.  And we are reviewing what’s happening in Year 2 of the DES in the New Year – so you have been warned!

Most Heartfelt – has to be Val Moore with I, the Patient where Val uses her own experience to give a truly personal spin to the generalities of best practice guidelines. A close runner-up would be Caroline Millar’s The Road to Hell ..where she imagined herself in the shoes of the public service who really wants to create an effective user engagement programme.  Good intentions are not enough.

Best Plug for our own Good Work – we and others we are glad to say liked the series of what were called Smart Guides to Engagement co-edited by Andrew Craig and our partner on this project David Gilbert of InHealth Associates. We gave the Smart Guides a two blog send-off here and here.   And six more will emerge in the New Year.

Best Predictive Question – back in January 2006, I blogged a review of the book ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ and wondered how that phenomenon might apply in the NHS. 2012 told us –patients generally get it right when they rate hospitals.

Most Industrious – this has to go to Partner Andrew Craig who wrote 24 blogs in 2012. His indefatiguable appetite for both the obvious and the most obscure snippets of health and related topics in this rich seam of our national life is clear from the pieces he pens personally and also in the ‘suggestions’ to the rest of us that we should look at this, blog that, write a response to this consultation. Will we ever catch up?  And now it has spread to Twitter.

‘Must Read’ Award – shame there is not a Booker Prize equivalent for writing on NHS-related topics. We have no hesitation in awarding our prize for Read of the Year to an account referenced in our July Newsletter: Nicholas Timmins’ ‘A Modern Drama in Five Incompleted Acts’ – a brilliant piece of history in the making as he takes us through the ‘re-disorganisation’ of the NHS. Sadly but unsurprisingly, in what Timmins acknowledges is a ‘study in government’ the patient’s voice is lost in the din of the clash of arms of the national polities but a riveting read nonetheless.

 The Moore Adamson Craig Partnership supports user and public participation, trains lay representatives and develops responsive health, care and education organisations. Feel free to contact us to discuss the opportunities. Follow MAC on Twitter @publicinvolve

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