What’s In A Name?

As well as reorganisation, there’s a new fashion in the NHS at the moment.   It’s called name changing.   Rather than discussing what they should be discussing, many NHS departments seem more interested in a new name.

Without a doubt, the leader in this fashion is NICE, which has just undergone its latest annual name change.  Forget Clinical Excellence.  Clinical issues have gone down the drain.  Now it’s the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (but still NICE, not NIHCE) so don’t you forget it; although someone working at NICE clearly has.  One of my colleagues received an e-mail from NICE yesterday, still with the old name on.   Well, it must be confusing for the poor staff mustn’t it.  Maybe they’ll change to NASTY next. Only joking.

Next comes Connecting for Health.  Just when we’d got used to the name, we now have to think afresh and refer to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.  Care seems to be the present buzzword in Whitehall doesn’t it? NHSIT next?

The organisation that will appear in the Guinness Book of Records for the fastest name change, however, is without doubt the NHS Commissioning Board.   They had hardly started work before they made their first major decision.  Yes, you’ve guessed, let’s change the name.  Having taken away one or two things from the Department of Health, they have renamed themselves NHS England.  Not hiding their light under a bushel then.  They obviously have several more potential name changes in store: NHS England and Wales, NHS GB, NHS UK.  Then someone will say, “Hey!  Let’s save some management and amalgamate them with the Department of Health into one body”.  Or, alternatively, let’s devolve NHS England into regions.  We’ll call the new bodies Strategic Health Authorities; no, that’s been used before, it’ll have to be Strategic Healthcare Commissions.

It’s all very well to joke about this but it has its serious side as well.  An acquaintance of ours who works in the NHS was recently involved in such a change.  All the staff had to throw away their uniforms and get new ones.  All letterheads and publicity had to be disposed of and new supplies purchased.  Really!

These things even impinge on organisations like us.  As we like all of our teaching materials to be bang up to date, we have had to go through all our packs making the necessary changes.  It’s not often Microsoft Word gets a pat on the back but thank goodness for the Find and Replace feature!

Finally, here are some ideas for other name changes:
Clinical Commissioning Groups to become Care Commissioning Groups
Healthwatch to become Healthaware
Monitor to become Watchdog.

You heard it here first!


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