Speculative Diversion: On the Value of Humour in Illuminating Medical Thought (NHS Networks / BMJ / BBC Radio 4)

Joking Aside: Light Entertainment

A gloriously funny send-up of the official NHS reporting genre, should light relief be required:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson J. (2014). Then there was interim light. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, August 22nd 2014.

Meaning What You Say Versus Saying What You Mean?

Possibly also of interest, an account of how the language used in press releases can sometimes conceal hidden nuance, beyond simply revealing declared intentions:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson J. (2014). Towards clarity: communication made simple. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, August 15th 2014.

Structural Reform: Who Reforms the Reformers?

Consciousness raising, on the cheap. An oblique, if unflattering, look at NHS reconfiguration and funding reform; which raises questions and (inevitably) falls short of answers:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson J. (2014). Unconscious surgery. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, September 13th 2014.

Self-Care, Nudge Theory or NHS Rationing?

Consideration of a potential (non-factual) “Austober” parallel to the Stoptober and Go Sober campaigns which encourage people to stop smoking and consuming alcohol during October, aimed at reducing unnecessary usage of NHS services. Pure fantasy, at present…

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson J. (2014). How to kick the NHS habit. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, September 19th 2014.

Disarming Simplicity

An “out of the mouths of babes and idiots” style view of the NHS England Five year forward view.

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson J. (2014). That five-year forward view in full. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, October 24th 2014.

Oscillating Plumbism

Some unofficial acronyms and abbreviations:

Full Text Link

Reference

The long and short of it. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, March 7th 2014.

The Everyman Guide to NHS Communications Practice: Corporate Hyperbole for the Social Media Age

This following piece betrays hints of a patrician disdain for lesser authors trying to write with the “common touch”. It is undeniably amusing and insightful, nonetheless. As for any implicit status-hierarchy snobbery, perhaps only an incisive combination of humour and social media might begin to be an effective antidote. That’s a topic for another day.

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson, J. (2014). So you think you understand comms. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, November 7th 2014.

On the Disutility of Extravagant Contrivance in the Naming of Clinical Trials

Common words and phrases, used inappropriately and simply for “effect” in the naming of trials, can result in aesthetic travesties and unexpected information retrieval problems further down the line. In the effort to debunk such artifice, the authors draw of some coruscating gems (apocryphal?):

  • Boosting Elegant Acronyms Using a Tally Yardstick (BEAUTY).
  • Help Acronyms Leave (Medical) Trials (HALT).
  • Major Malady of Modern Medical Miscommunication (MMMMM).
  • obsCure and awkHward usE of lettArs Trying to spell somethING (CHEATING).

Pottegård, A. Haastrup, MB. [and] Stage, TB. [et al] (2014). SearCh for humourIstic and Extravagant acroNyms and Thoroughly Inappropriate names For Important Clinical trials (SCIENTIFIC): qualitative and quantitative systematic study. BMJ. December 16th 2014; 349: g7092. Full Text Link.

Too Clever By Half…

When the times get tough, the tough… find solace in surrealist humour:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson, J. (2015). Many happy returns for 2015. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, January 9th 2015.

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun?

On Useful Round Things (URTs) and re-invention of the wheel; the wondrous “cycle” of eternal recurrence embedded in many self-proclaimed innovative initiatives. Virtuosic sustained word-play:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson, J. (2015). Useful round things hailed as revolutionary. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, September 10th 2015.

On the Premise That Initiative(s) Are a Finite Resource and / or NHS Campaigns Should Be Used Sparingly

An unusual postulate at first glance, but readers are again invited to suspend their disbelief… for massive comedic effect. On a serious level, there are veiled hints at a hidden law of diminishing returns for NHS neologisms, campaigns, transformation programmes, innovation schemes, reports and well-intentioned initiatives. Carefully crafted commentary:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson, J. (2015). Initiatives shortage poses threat to NHS survival. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, October 16th 2015.

Counter-Culture: Alive and Well in the NHS

At first glance, the following piece may strike mature readers as gratuitously offensive or gigglishly disrespectful to Whitehall mandarins. Delve deeper, and this new “take” on a Hans Christian Andersen classic tale shows itself to be part of a long literary tradition aimed at protecting freedom of thought. This counter-cultural perspective provides a heightened immunity to officialdom’s “spin” and collective self-delusion generally. Good “proper” writing, as they say in the Black Country:

Full Text Link

Reference

Patterson, J. (2015). Imperial transformation programme – lines to take for press officers. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, October 29th 2015.

An interesting BBC Radio 4 broadcast by Roger Scruton touches upon the utility of humour and jokes:

Full Audio and Summary Text Link

Reference

Offensive Jokes. London: BBC Radio 4; A Point of View Programme, November 6th / November 8th 2015.

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