Staff Urged To Drop ‘Dehumanising’ Language

NHS staff were criticised yesterday for referring to patients in dehumanising terms such as “frequent flyers” and branding Alzheimer’s sufferers as “dements”. Harry Cayton, national director for patients and the public, warned that the NHS must change the language it uses to describe customers if it was to become a truly patient-centred service. Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Mr Cayton was particularly critical of the phrase “frequent flyer”, applied to frail patients who go in and out of hospital on a regular basis, which he called “demeaning and trivialising”.