Useful phrases in Lansley-speak
The revered Minister of State for Health, Andrew Lansley (this is him), seems a likely candidate for a bed in his ‘new’ reformed NHS, as he comes out with his pat phrases glossing over NHS shortcomings.
To prevent you going bonkers too when trying to understand what medics are spouting, here is my handy guide to what I think he actually means when he comes out with gobbledegook.
The British Medical Association and the Plain English Campaign have criticised the NHS’s use of words such as ‘service users’ and ‘clients’ to describe patients. They said gobbledygook phrases were causing confusion for staff and patients alike.
I agree. Nothing enraged me more whilst being treated for cancer than each time I was called a ‘customer’. A customer is someone who goes into a shop and decides to buy something – not a patient who has woken up one day and found they have cancer. But officials can’t understand that, unlike shops’ customers, I did not choose to pick cancer off the shelf.
You have to understand he is following the phrases his computer is programmed supply phrases when writing his speeches.
One of his favourites is 5000 fewer managers, 4000 more doctors: (and similar misleading phrases). By the time you manage to Google this to try and confirm where he gets his figures from, ask a Dept. Health Press Officer (where do they pick them from?) or contact your MP, the translation will be lost in mists of time (with any luck for LaLa).
But despair not – this and similar phrases are just plucked out of thin air to sound good in TV sound bites.
Baffled by opposition (stock reply when your MP manages to ask a sensible question…) translation:
I have not been listening to any other views but mine for the last 18 months
Care provided by the NHS will remain free at the point of use:
That’s provided you can work your way through the minefield and actually find someone to deliver this before you are carted off to the old people’s home and won’t need it any more.
Alternatively, for those of you whose nerve has crumbled and you bought health insurance, of course your care is free (to the NHS) because the insurance company will pay
Cutting management costs:
When you phone your hospital for an appointment, most will offer an option to ‘press button No. X for private appointments’. With any luck you will get so fed up with waiting for the call centre to answer that you will press this option – thereby cutting NHS costs
Doctors tell me they want these reforms: Translation: I once met a doctor who told me he supported part of my Bill
Evidence shows: translation: Er – I’m making this up. Please don’t ask where I got my evidence because you will be fobbed off by different departments until you give up.
Hand more control to patients:
Well, we can’t manage this so with any luck we are hoping you will all go privately and sort out your own care.
Health and social care integration:
(misleading phrase) cutting budgets for both health and social care
No decision about me without me:
this misleading phrase was set to be Lansley’s signature cry – but rebounded. Means you do have a choice : either stay in system and wait – or go privately
No top-down re-organisation:
We can’t ask senior management because they have all taken redundancy and negotiated higher pay packets working for the new quangos we are setting up.
Biggest re-organisation since 1948 With any luck no-one is around from that time, so doesn’t remember the days when Matron managed the hospitals more efficiently
Ploughed back into patient care:
In the Dept. Health we are becoming experts at robbing Peter to pay Paul.. We can constantly play the game of announcing ‘new funding…..’ and with any luck we won’t be around once they have worked out what we are cutting to pay for this.
Liberate NHS from bureaucracy:
get rid of layers of Administration such as PCTs, and replace with two layers for every one we close down
Let’s take the politics out of this
The opposition are getting too near the nitty-gritty
The bill enjoys the support of all the clinical professions: there are fairies living in the Dept. Health’s massively expensive collection of plants in their indoor garden
Those who are against the bill just don’t understand it:
1) everyone is out of step but Lansley
2) almost nobody understands the Bill, especially MPs, but luckily the Coalition has more MPs than the opposition, and the Whips make sure they vote the way Lansley wants them to vote. Who mentioned Democracy?
doctors/clinicians are already (…):
We have bribed some medics near retirement with lovely Quango posts to get them to carry this out
Patients will be involved We 1) We just make sure we don’t ask any of them in the first place; then by the time they find out we have closed the Enquiry down and no-one is around to answer questions. 2) Copy the Future Fandango (Forum) format. Announce patients are going to be involved, then make sure there is no contact address so we don’t have to answer questions asking who are patient reps.
If all else fails, LaLa can copy his revered Boss and only invite those backing him to tea at Downing Street – or Richmond Towers.