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Picking up your sagging pumper


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Friday, 11 March 2011

Picking up your sagging pumper

Thanks to everyone who came to see us at Healthcare Innovation Expo over the past two days.

As promised, there were fruit.

The NHS Networks banana proved to be a healthy and popular alternative to the temptations on rival stands. Next door had a bowl of something called Minglers, a thuggish-looking After Eight in a bile-coloured wrapper.

A nearby exhibitor was luring in punters with cereal bars containing a strongly strawberry flavoured chemical additive capable of inducing severe ADHD-like symptoms.

Anyone foolish enough to wash one of these down with a couple of free coffees was in trouble. This might explain why sections of the audience were struggling to suppress convulsions during Andrew Lansley’s speech.

There was no danger of hyperactive behaviour in the NHS Networks workshop thanks to the soothing qualities of potassium and magnesium and the soporific effects of an airless seminar room.

Had they stayed awake for longer delegates would have heard that NHS Networks’ visitor traffic has increased by 60% since Christmas and that membership has grown by 3000 in the same period.

All of which sounds sickeningly self-congratulatory – best fruit, most docile delegates, phenomenal growth – but we can only present you with the facts. What you make of them is up to you.

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We need to tell it like it is, but we need to tell it with care if we don’t want patients and the public to get the wrong end of the stick. Here are some recent NHS headlines capable of misinterpretation.

“Making alcohol a health priority” – Kids won’t need telling twice that binge-drinking is good for them.

“Children and young people who experience bedwetting to benefit from NICE guidance” – Very young children may prefer to stick to the executive summary.

”Predicting death: estimating the proportion of unexpected deaths” – Or why statisticians are on a hiding to nothing.


Finally, from an article about the nutritional value of bananas:

“It’s the bicycle rider’s best friend, a potassium pipeline that instantly picks up a sagging pumper.”