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Language expert comments on NHS’s new choice of words


An academic at Birmingham City University’s School of English has shared his thoughts on The National Health Service (NHS) announcing this week that they’ll be changing some of the terminology on their website.

By September 2020, phrases such as ‘stools’ and ‘faeces’ will be replaced with ‘poo’, whilst the term ‘urinate’ will be swapped for ‘pee’ to avoid confusion amongst patients.

School of English

Birmingham City University

Commenting on the use of new wording, Dr Robert Lawson, associate professor at Birmingham City University’s School of English said:

“I can understand why the NHS is going in this direction,” said Dr Lawson.

“That said, the use of ‘pee’ and ‘poo’ are perhaps more confusing changes, given that these terms are typically used by children and can potentially be interpreted as juvenile or immature.

“Nevertheless, any changes in terminology that are intended to improve understanding and comprehension, especially when people feel vulnerable or are worried about their health, should be welcomed.”

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