Thursday, 31 July 2014

Double-speak row as west London hospital A&Es are ‘changed’ but not ‘shut’ in leaflet

Hammersmith Hospital: health chiefs have been accused of using “Orwellian” language (Picture: Google Streetview)

Updated: 11:16, 30 July 2014

Health chiefs have been accused of using “Orwellian” language in a £400,000 publicity campaign about the closure of two A&E departments in west London.
Leaflets and posters refer to “changes” to emergency services at in Acton and Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal, which are in fact being scrapped altogether on 10 September.
The new Labour leadership at  Hammersmith & Fulham council said senior health officials had admitted that medical staff wanted to use the word “closure” but they had been overruled by their public relations advisers M&C Saatchi because research showed patients found the word “change” more “reassuring than closure”

But council leader Stephen Cowan said: “Using the word ‘change’ rather than ‘closed’ appears to be deliberately designed to distract the public from being upset or concerned about the closure of the A&Es, rather than informing them of what was happening and what was in the best interests for them and their loved ones if they ever need accident or emergency health care services.
Saying something will change instead of closing may be more re-assuring, but then there is that rather gigantic problem that it is not true”.

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