Health Service rebranding, you know it makes sense…

But to whom? It looks like it’s going to be ‘all change’ in the Health Service as the latest ‘rebranding’ exercise takes place.

Primary Care Trusts will assume a new identity in a cunning plan devised by the Department of Health to help the patients and public to ‘recognise the full range of NHS services.’ It’s a bit like Superman stuff this, just hope they don’t start wearing their underpants on the outside of their uniforms.

Time out! Surely, if you have been admitted as a patient and are undergoing treatment, you are quite likely to be patently aware of the service being offered, like ‘making you better again’. Presumably the idea would be for patients to periodically grab a pair of crutches and hobble awkwardly to the front of the building to see if the sign has changed and, if it has, limp back to find a doctor and ask him to explain the new services on offer since your arrival and, while he’s at it, take a look at the stitches you’ve just ruptured en route.

So what is this great rebranding? Well, Lambeth PCT would become….wait for it….Lambeth NHS.

And what will that mean?

Lots of money spent on new signs. Lots of money spent on new stationery. Lots of money spent on publicity…

What won’t it mean?

Better service, more nurses, more doctors, shorter waiting lists, improved pay and conditions…

And the actual benefits to the patient?

Tricky one. Have to phone a friend on that one.

Medical facilities often complain they haven’t enough money for the necessary drugs to treat a particular illness, yet there could be a couple of million pounds flying around to change the stationery. That money could buy a lot of drugs and help a lot of people.

This not, of course, the first rebranding exercise in the Health Service. It is actually the fourth rebranding since 1997. Primary Care Groups became Primary Care Trusts which became PCT’s and will now become NHS’s. Is anyone really any the wiser, more aware or better off, apart from stationery and sign suppliers that is?

And someone is undoubtedly being paid a fortune for coming up with these brilliant ways of wasting taxpayers’ money.

‘Sorry Mrs Smith, can’t give you any painkillers, budgets and all that, but I could let you have a selection of letterheads. We’ve found that writing, or even drawing, helps take the mind off the pain’.

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