“NHS managers diagnosed with a rampant case of jargon
The NHS is riddled with jargon and gobbledygook and may even be using impenetrable language on purpose to hide plans from the public, the Plain English Campaign has warned.
“Sustainability and transformation plans” (STPs) that divide England into 44 “footprints” and make promises such as “system-wide quality improvements” as a consequence of “shared understanding of all the interrelated issues” was one example highlighted by the campaign. Steve Jenner, its spokesman, said: “If you use impenetrable language it means the public has no clue what is going on. I can’t help thinking that suits the NHS sometimes.
“What this jargon is describing is very important. It should be articulated very clearly. We expect doctors to clearly explain themselves. It should be the same for the NHS management.”
Health service bosses have been told to draw up STPs for their areas to show how they can save money and improve services. Many of the plans involve hospital or service closures and have drawn widespread opposition. But despite the importance of STPs, some officials have started referring to them as “sticky toffee puddings”, the BBC reported.
The campaign said that jargon terms were “an inevitable sign of trouble” and that references to “reconfiguring” were “suitably vague enough to hide all manner of potential changes”.
It added: “We all know what it means when think tank representatives and planners talk above, over and behind the backs of those whose lives they are meddling with.
“Simply put, it’s to keep those that might have concerns and justifiable complaints out of a debate. In this case, that’s completely unacceptable.”
Last year, NHS England ordered hospitals to stop referring to being at “red alert” or “black alert” as a result of winter pressures.
Instead, hospitals that were so busy that they had to cancel non-emergency operations, call in extra staff and divert ambulances — previously a black alert — were at “operational pressures escalation level four”.
The level down — formerly a red alert — is now “operational pressures escalation level three”.
Source: Times (paywall)