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News & views

Warding off the plague of hospital jargon

[17 May 2012] The vogue for vainglorious, jargon-filled mission statements shows little sign of abating – or so my hospital correspondent thought after reading this notice at the entrance to a ward at the Central Middlesex Hospital, London:

‘Abbey Suite Philosophy 
Through the cultivation of collaborative relationships, this brings great value to patients and the delivery of optimal outcomes. Through reflection, analysis, interpretation and application of practice and our environment we endeavour to create and maintain a culture that promotes quality care. Best care and the best environments are interdependent – one simply cannot exist without the other.’

Numerous outraged questions sprang to mind. Is this kind of guano meant to aid patients’ recovery? Is it meant to keep nurses and doctors on top form? Who wrote it, and at what cost? What official or committee authorized its display? Who will ever require it to be taken down? 

So, in full rut, I contacted the hospital’s press officer to make these very points (on your behalf).

Cue an Olympic-style sprint to the Abbey Suite by Ms Press Officer, where she ripped the offending bafflegab from the wall.

She told me: ‘The Abbey Suite Philosophy was created several years ago and should have been taken down and replaced when the Trust adopted Our Promise on all of its wards in 2008.’ 

So, let’s give credit where it’s due. The new ‘Promise’ may not suit everybody but at least it’s clear, human and written in a language most people would regard as English. Here it is (next page): 

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