Event Information:

  • Thu

    Valuing language: Effective communication in healthcare provision

    18:30 - 21:00The Work Foundation, 21 Palmer Street, London, SW1H 0AD

    We would be delighted to invite you to the following free event, aimed at practitioners and those training to enter healthcare services.

    How important are the communication and interpersonal skills of healthcare practitioners to patients accessing NHS services? Do patients use words for the same reasons practitioners assume they do when reporting their symptoms?


    This event brings together findings from two major studies carried out at Lancaster University examining NHS patient feedback and descriptor words used in self-reports of chronic pain. The speakers will showcase findings and observations that are useful for clinical practice.

    The first presentation draws on a detailed study of patient comments on healthcare services collected through NHS Choices. Based on 228,000 comments collected between 2013 and 2015, it is the largest and most up-to-date study of the issues influencing positive and negative feedback from NHS service users. Using computer-assisted linguistic techniques and qualitative discourse analysis, it addresses the relative value that patients place on interpersonal skills and effective, compassionate communication.

    The second part of the event examines patients' reporting of pain. Common questionnaire instruments present a selection of descriptor words (for example - pricking/boring/drilling/stabbing); patients' choice of descriptor is assumed to reflect their intensity of pain. But analysis of very large amounts of text shows that often, this choice can be explained by how strongly the descriptor is associated with the word 'pain' in general English. This has implications for the use of current pain questionnaires and for the development of new ones.

    Following the talks, the audience are invited to a drinks reception, during which they have the opportunity to engage further with speakers and to network with guests.We look forward to meeting you at the event.

    Prof. Elena Semino and Dr. Andrew Hardie


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