Posted by: ayrshirehealth | May 25, 2016

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye by @dtbarron

And now the end is near

AyrshirehealthAfter four years of posting a blog every week come rain, shine and holidays, leading to 215 blog posts, Ayrshirehealth blog is coming to an end – it is a situation of mixed emotions and necessitates some important thank yous.

Two main groups of people need to be thanked.

We have read blogs from over 50 bloggers throughout the four years, some are multiple bloggers and some are one-off bloggers.  I’d like to say a massive thank you to each and every single of one them – they’ve taken the time to write the blogs and to share their thoughts, ideas, expertise and experience.

Blog readersThe second group of people to thank are you, the reader (especially those that follow the blog and get a weekly email directly into their inbox) – without you joining us in the journey of sharing and co-learning the value of the blog would have been greatly diminished – you are the essential life blood of any blog.

Throughout the years many of you have posted comments on various blogs; thank you for doing so, our bloggers appreciate you taking the time to do so, it’s a useful avenue to explore thoughts, feelings and actions.

Individually I was always encouraged on the road around digital engagement by Fiona McQueen (@fionacmcqueen) and via the support of May Smith (Comms)(@mayjs_93) – both of whom have now left Ayrshire.  The ongoing support from the Comms team in A&A has been much appreciated.


DGHealthAlthough Ayrshirehealth is now ‘resting’ there is another blog which models itself on the Ayrshirehealth approach, which I’d encourage you to sign up to follow.

Ken Donaldson (@kendonaldson), NHS Dumfries and Galloway started a short time after Ayrshirehealth. We have collaborated and shared our blogging journey, I’d highly recommend it to you, it follows the same format of having different bloggers each week – some clinical, some not, but always interesting and engaging.

Why the end?

And so to why Ayrshirehealth is coming to an end?

ErskineAfter 32 years in the NHS I am leaving to take on a new opportunity (@dtbarron) – this time, just like the NHS, with another much loved organisation – Erskine, the veterans charity, where I’ll be privileged to take up the post as Director of Care.

Begin with the end on mind

It would be a fair to reflect on if the blog has achieved what it set out to do.

In June 2012 the ‘target’ was to have the blogs viewed 3000 times by December (six months) – extrapolating that to the eight half years the blog has been running would mean 36,000 views of the blog over the four years – so having had 113,800 views the blog has exceeded my expectation, especially as that equates to 48,384 visitors.  As can be seen in the link above, instead of 3000 reads of the blog in the first six months we achieved 6000 reads.

Driver DiagramAdditionally I underestimated the reach of the blog, seeing readership in over 120 countries was beyond anything I had imagined, even if year one stats made interesting reading.

Lessons for us all

The lesson for us all when considering how to engage is to look at social media, and blogging specifically, as an additional route to reach audiences that might not be reached via traditional methods.

It can, where required, open up global networks of professionals, service users and carers allowing the sharing of knowledge and information.

Douglas Adams RulesBut – if there is one thing I’ve learnt it’s that blogging and/or social media isn’t for everyone – neither is email, or telephones!!

Any road will get you thereIf you are thinking of starting your own blog – consider adopting Stephen Covey’s second habit “Begin with the end in mind” remembering, if you don’t know where you want to go, then any road will take you there:

Hopefully you’ll agree the Ayrshirehealth blog had a purpose, which it achieved in sharing knowledge and experience related to health and care across Ayrshire and beyond, as laid out in the Driver Diagram.

It simply remains for me to say thanks to each of you for reading this – I wish you all the very best for the future.

This week’s blog was written by @dtbarron (Derek T Barron), Lead Nurse, North Ayrshirehealt & Social Care Partnership | Associate Nurse Director, NHS Ayrshire & Arran.


  1. You’ll be missed Derek. Good luck in your new job. I get furious that ‘needy’ Ex Service people have to rely on any Charity. Discarded by a Government who manipulated them. I am, as you know, Ex Service.

    • Thanks Brian, it’s been great to engage over the years – thanks for your blogs which have contributed to Ayrshirehealth’s success. Will stay in touch via Twitter, no doubt 👏. DTB

  2. Derek – can’t thank you enough for driving this blog over the past 4 years. I am sure there will be withdrawal symptoms all round when it stops dropping into in-boxes. You set the standard for others to follow – I know Ken will agree from D&G.

    • Thanks Hazel – it’s been a great experience and lots of lessons along the way.

      Has been good to liaise with Ken, he’s doing a fab job with DGHealth.


  3. Thank you so much for all the blogs over the years. I have used some of them in teaching and others to motivate and/or remind me of what matters. Good luck with your new job. NHS Aryshire’s loss is the Veteran’s gain. Thanks again.

    • Thank you Alison, that’s lovely to hear the blogs have been used that way, great thinking in your part.

      Thanks for your feedback.


  4. Derek,
    AH is an amazing collection of stories, pioneering and inspirational. The range of contributors surprising and genius!
    Wishing you success and happiness in your new role.

    • Thanks Gina, and thanks for your blogs which have added to the fab array of blogs I was able to post.

      Will keep in touch on Twitter, I’m sure.


  5. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the blogs and it has given me an insight into areas which I ordinarily wouldn’t be concerned about. Best wishes in your new job.

    • Thank you Ann, and thanks for reading the blogs – without people reading it there would be little added value.


  6. I have enjoyed reading the blogs every week. thanks for the giving us the insight into other areas. I will miss them in my inbox every Wednesday. I wish you well in your new post – a loss for A&A. Hopefully i will get better at Twitter but will continue to follow you anyway. All the very best. x

    • Thank Martha – it was my mission to have you ‘better in Twitter’ 😳 – but in the bright side, you’re there and that’s to be celebrated 😀


  7. Enjoy your onward journey

  8. Well done Derek and although I have now been retired for 9 months, I always read the weekly blogs to keep up to date. Good luck in your new job. P.s. You are not as scary as first thought……lol

    • Thanks Irene – me, scary?? I’m a pussy cat, as you’ve now found out 😂. Hope you’re retirement is fun. DTB

  9. Good luck in your new venture Derek, you will be a huge loss to A & A especially your nursing colleagues. Time for another chapter in your life and I hope you enjoy the challenge. All the best for the future.

    • Thanks Elaine, I’ll also miss many colleagues/nurses from across Ayrshire – it’s been a brilliant experience and have many many many personcentered, caring and compassionate nurses.

      Will stay in touch on Twitter no doubt.


  10. Derek – Good luck in your new role. Erskine is an amazing service that helps a group of people who need our help, I am proud to donate to them.

    • Thank you Eric, and thanks for supporting Erskine. I’ve got lots to learn when I get there.


  11. Will miss the blogs, Derek. The loss of your input to MH in Ayrshire will be palpable, wish you all the best in your new venture.

    • Thank you Samantha, I’ll also miss lots of colleagues when I go – I’ll hopefully be staying in touch with your adventures (via Twitter) as you lead your work at SPSPMH. DTB

  12. Thank you for your leadership in positive communication through Social Media. Many congrats Derek on your new role.

    • Thanks Ann – hopefully will stay in touch via that medium! DTB

  13. Derek, a sad day indeed. Can’t thank you enough for all the help and support in establishing dghealth, which, as you know, has turned into a far more polished and superior blog! 😉
    Take care, keep in touch and let me know when you can contribute a blog for me. Ken

    • Thanks Ken – I’m very happy that DGHealth has built from the strong foundation of Ayrshirehealth- a PDSA cycle of improvement. I refuse to rise to the bait of ‘betternesss’ as I don’t like to hurt your feelings 🙂

      Ayrshirehealth rocks (or should that be rocked??).


  14. As a late comer to Ayrshirehealth blog, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning lots and having my thinking both challenged and stimulated by some fantastic contributions from many bloggers – it is a sad day indeed and the blog will be missed almost as much as you DTB!

    • Thank you David your feedback means a lot to me, as the ‘blogmeister’ (yes, I made that up!) and as a colleague. DTB

  15. Derek- I take my hat off to you- thanks for your dedication- and help with all things blogging and twitter- Good Luck with your next chaoter

    • Thank you Fiona – and thanks for the encouragement to pursue digital engagement opportunities. DTB

  16. Derek, thank you for leading us into fresh pastures. I remember my wife returning from some gig you spoke at in the Beardmore, all enthused about tweeting and “really helpful blog thingys”…this after I had been recommending these tools for a few years ☺
    I wish you well in Erskine and want you to know there’s always a friendly cuppa over the bridge in the Jubilee.
    Go well.

    • Thank you Paul – I’m hoping your wife is still tweeting? I remember it was a QNIS conference, had great fun with the audience.

  17. Totally gutted, u have made such a difference in A&A for mental health services, moving it higher up the agenda for service users & carers, your leadership, guidance,support & encouragement for the MHPRG & myself, will be missed, I was looking forward to continue to work with u on bringing services together within NAHSCP, I would like to invite u on behalf of the MHPRG, to our next meeting on Tue 7th June 1.30 to have a wee farewell party, with a heavy heart i wish u well in ur new job

    • Thank you for those words Fiona, I’ve always believed in the importance of service user and carer involvement/leadership and that is always easier to achieve when we have leaders like yourself willing to play active roles in working with, but not afraid to challenge us.

      I’m confident that the joint work in NAHSCP will continue as we have a senior team (and others) completely signed up to listening and working together (one of the reasons I’ve loved working with them) – keep on being that strong voice and leader of involvement.

      Very best wishes for the future.


  18. Great to see there are brave souls at Erskine prepared to take the Barron Tour Bus!
    Good luck them & you D!

    • Thank you Chris – not sure which part I play – conductor or driver?, but it will be an interesting and rewarding journey I’m sure.

      Hope you’re doing well.


  19. The blogs will be sorely missed Derek, as will you, but we’ll look forward to your ongoing Tweets. Good luck in your new venture.

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