Would you want to be called a “Service User”?

I have taken to writing this post following interaction with the Guardian Social’s news piece on “Want to modernise mental health policy? Listen to service users” LINK

Now it is an interesting piece on its own and well worth a read however it was following the below tweet that got me engaged in interacting with the debate being had

In that tweet as you can see it says:

“Am I the only one that really hates the term service user?”

In a very short answer NO YOU ARE NOT!

It was one of the first things I made sure I changed when I left my local authority job several years ago as I hated (and I don’t use that word often) the label attached to the statement of “Service User”.

People who are in need of care and/or support are not service users, they are not numbers they are people plain and simple. The ‘Service User’ tag for me made it easy for leaders of services to tag numbers and build services for users to fit into as opposed to focusing on people and building services that can support (the right way). Furthermore being person centred, where health and social care should be striving to achieve, is to see the person not a condition/illness and as a result for me “service user” loses the main focus of seeing the person.

I also had a tweet following my post on Twitter from @CarolineLyall1 read:

“I always say client… Is this old fashioned?”

My reply was simple:

“I wouldn’t say old fashioned per se using individual/person ensures focus is on person not the service IMO”

Again I wouldn’t say client was wrong for someone who is working business to business however for me where care and support is involved it will now and forever will be:

“Individual and/or Person”

That way I will always see the person in front of me and ensure that the supports and care delivered meet that individuals need.

It was interesting to get a reply from the person who tweeted that read:

“Hummm, interesting. Thank you, I will definitely consider this”

I thank you for reading and please would love to hear your thoughts on the use of “Service User” and our other labels in social care.

Take Care and remember

“With hope and belief there are no limitations”

Stephen

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