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Paul Sankey: Gobbledygook is Clearly Alive and Very Well in the NHS!

The new Eastern and Coastal Kent Community Health NHS Trust seems very proud of its attempts make staff act in ways which ensure the safety of patients. At least I think that is what they are saying. It is so difficult to interpret the management-speak gobbledygook in which they say things. But how can you be sure you are encouraging people to do things right when you need a massive IQ to understand what they say?Take this for instance - one of their simpler sentences:
  • One critical task is to standardise compliance to governance and risk-management requirements across the integrated organisation.
Relatively simple by NHS standards it may be but according to one measure of readability (the Flesch-Kincaid Formula) you need a reading age of 25 to understand it. We read this week that one in 4 children leaving primary school in London can barely read - so it will be a while before they can understand NHS safety-speak.But even better is this jewel:
  • One thing we have done is to embed a sophisticated but easy-to-use real-time quality monitoring tool, from Allocate Software, to self-assess, input relevant actions, and ensure correct processes have been checked and assigned to an expert. Through the dashboard technology we have instant access to up-to-date information so we can tell at any point what assurance is available, what gaps in compliance exist, and what is being done about them.
Whilst the words are generally shorter the reading age is now up to 26. I have not yet discovered a sophisticated jargon-analysis tool and can only hope someone will devote 3 years of full-time PhD studies to help us out here. However I could live without 'embed', 'easy-to-use' (when was software ever simple to grasp?), 'real-time', 'quality monitoring tool', 'self-assess', 'imput relevant actions' (what would they be)…and so it goes on.Read it again - is it me or do they sound so smug?As the Trust says, In the NHS, compliance isn't just a process of ticking the right boxes – it's the difference between a patient well being and tragedy. Which gets to the heart of it really. Compliance (safety?) is not just just a process of ticking boxes. Far less is it death by mumbo-jumbo. What we really want is people to be properly looked after, treated with respect and cared for properly. Or should I say - so that the NHS compliance people can understand me, 'Moving forward, the goal of our healthcare-process-maintenance is embedded real-time systemic quality customer satisfactionizing inputted and leveraged throughout our integrated networking'. I think that about covers it although I missed out the bit about the dashboard.Click here for more NHS gobbledygook. Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email enquiries@rjw.co.uk and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.

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