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Urgent search underway for transformative name


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Friday, 22 September 2017

Urgent search underway for transformative name

The NHS is about to be plunged into the deepest crisis in its nearly 70 year history, as time runs out to find the right name for an imaginary well-organised and logical version of itself.

NHS bosses are worried that without memorable and consistent names for barmy initiatives, unfeasible contracting arrangements and vague aspirations, all attempts at meaningful and lasting reform are destined to fail.

A number of names have been tried for medium to large-scale integrated care organisations, including vanguard, pioneer, multispecialty community provider (MCP), primary and acute care system (PACS), integrated care organisation (ICO), accountable care organisation (ACO), sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) and current favourite accountable care system (ACS). Even names appealing to children have been tried, such as primary care home (PCH), which implies that general practice “at scale” could evolve from Lego.

But NHS England admits that none of them are working. A spokesperson said:  “We see little sign that services are becoming more integrated, safer, more efficient, adequately staffed or particularly well led. Everything points to a problem with the branding.”

Even some of the most promising names have been a source of disappointment. The Five Year Forward View was initially praised for its alliteration and driving 4/4 beat, but most of all for its bold refusal to be pigeon-holed as “a plan”. But the 2019 use-by date was a schoolboy error, say critics, who point out that the authors of World Class Commissioning and Transforming Community Services sensibly avoided dates or commitments of any kind.

“New care models” is another term with initial promise but shelf-life issues. NHS England is still wrestling with the problem of when and how to replace the "new" prefix. Lawyers have advised against the use of "proven" or anything with "evidence based" in the title.

Joint naming initiatives involving the NHS and local government have also fared badly. “Integration Transformation Fund was a terrible name, but after months of deliberation the best they could come up with was Better Care Fund. No wonder the best part of £6bn was wasted,” said one health policy analyst.  

An NHS-wide competition has been launched to find the right name forever (RNF), while a new strategic nomenclature and nuancing unit (SNNU) has been set up to co-ordinate the search, evaluate potential candidates and consult on their possible implementation.

Regional naming authorities (RNAs) will work with STPs to consider possible local variations. Clinical advisory boards (CABs) will ensure that no new names are agreed without input from doctors, nurses, royal colleges and professional bodies.

Finding sustainable and transformative names remains one of the most pressing problems for the NHS. Experts agree that excessive use of terminology in previous decades has created a critical shortage of new names and reduced opportunities for recycling old ones.

As one expert put it: “It’s no longer just a matter of struggling to find the right names, we need to face up to the fact that we’re close to running out of names altogether. That won’t affect operation of NHS frontline services, but it could have a devastating effect on strategy, horizon scanning, improvement initiatives, change programmes, leadership development and other mission-critical functions.” 

Editor: NHS Networks


Anonymous says:
Sep 22, 2017 12:11 PM

One of the most brilliant things I've ever read.

Jon Collins
Jon Collins says:
Sep 22, 2017 02:04 PM

Sustainable Healthcare Integration Teams
Caring Resource Acute Provider
Primary Resource Integrated Care Service

David G Smithard
David G Smithard says:
Sep 22, 2017 04:15 PM

I guess we should get an agency in to advice. Kent have already wasted in excess of £3 million on outside consultants.

Andrew Rix
Andrew Rix says:
Sep 23, 2017 09:51 PM

Churchill referred to his strategy as 'keep buggering on'; fuelled by a strong commitment to 'divide and rule' and paying for the second world war with borrowings from the Americans under 'lend lease'.Ring any bells? The NHS manages to survive and provide a good service (mostly) by threatening to integrate whilst promoting competition and all with no new money. KBO probably too offensive now but Incomprehensible National Organisation for Muddling Through till something or other turns up (INOFoMuSTop) might adequately describe NHS strategic thinking while adding to the useless acronyms patients are supposed to understand in order to access services.

rogier koning
rogier koning says:
Sep 25, 2017 12:19 PM

Just adopt my project, it already has the perfect name: nobism

Latin, meaning: us / for us
Short for Medical

Sp perfect from a patient point of view.

Anonymous says:
Oct 11, 2017 11:00 AM

Everyone's Healthcare Service - EHS
The Peoples Healthcare Service - TPHS
Healthcare For Everyone - HFE