• More than a third of MPs do not understand the term “accountable care systems”, survey finds
  • Report finds Parliamentarians want NHS communications teams to “explain concepts more clearly”
  • YouGov survey finds 38 per cent do not know what “sustainable care” means

The majority of MPs want the NHS to simplify its language with a third admitting they do not understand new care model jargon.

New research shared exclusively with HSJ found that 30 per cent of MPs did not understand what an “integrated care system” is and 34 per cent what “accountable care systems” were.

Nearly a quarter of Parliamentarians quizzed said they did not feel “sufficiently well informed” to scrutinise healthcare in Parliament, with just over half saying they did.

More than three quarters of MPs surveyed agreed NHS organisations should “simplify their language and explain concepts more clearly to Parliamentarians”.

The research was based on a survey of 108 MPs earlier this month carried out by YouGov for MHP Communications.

The survey also found:

  • 60 per cent MPs said the language used to describe current changes in the NHS was not simple or easy to understand, compared to just 12 per cent who did;
  • Three quarters of MPs agree that the level of knowledge required to understand exactly how the NHS works is significant;
  • 19 per cent did not understand the term “integrated care”;
  • 25 per cent did not understand what “outcomes based healthcare” was;
  • 38 per cent said they did not understand the phrase “sustainable care”; and
  • 52 per cent of MPs did not understand what “system approaches” were.

Head of MHP’s health practice Kate Pogson said better communication would ultimately lead to better care for patients.

She added: “We ask a lot of our elected officials. The brief of an MP is vast, and too often policy proposals are hidden behind overly complex jargonistic phrasing.

“Our research demonstrates how this is impacting on policymaking, with barely half feeling able to scrutinise healthcare issues effectively in Parliament.

“This is a shared endeavour: all of us working in the sector have a responsibility to explain concepts clearly.”

MHP’s survey also found Labour MPs said they had a better understanding of healthcare terminology than Conservative MPs.

Labour MPs were nearly three times more likely to say they understood the concept of “holistic care” compared to Conservative colleagues and were more familiar with integrated care.