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The need to reflect, declutter, reappraise, reset and decolonise

23 September 2021
6 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 17


John Tingle and Amanda Cattini discuss some current ‘buzzwords’ that raise important issues in patient safety policy development and practice

There are many buzzwords and acronyms in the debates and literature dealing with NHS patient safety and healthcare quality. The NHS is seemingly wedded to acronyms and buzzwords and they abound in the patient safety domain. A ‘buzzword’ can be defined as a flavour-of-the-month, transient type word describing a concept that can be seen to direct current policy until eventually it becomes less topical and fades away from general use. We have such terms as ‘clinical governance’ (Department of Health, 2000) or ‘patient empowerment’ (Local Government Association, 2021). We have had ‘controls assurance’ (Personnel Today, 2000) and ‘patient advocacy’ (Society and College of Radiographers, 2008). Some of these words do stick around longer than others. The public rarely seem to see discussion of these in the media that they will reasonably encounter, yet public understanding of them is fundamental as a basic principle of equality, transparency and justice.

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