What’s in a name: ‘client’, ‘patient’, ‘customer’, ‘consumer’, ‘expert by experience’, ‘service User’—What’s Next?

McLaughlin, H 2009, 'What’s in a name: ‘client’, ‘patient’, ‘customer’, ‘consumer’, ‘expert by experience’, ‘service User’—What’s Next?' , British Journal of Social Work, 39 , pp. 1101-1117.

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This article challenges the terms we use to describe the relationship between those who assess and commission services and those who are the recipient of those services. In particular, the article identifies the different terms that have been used in British social work, including ‘client’, ‘customer’, ‘consumer’, ‘service user’ and ‘expert by experience’, highlighting their assumptive worlds and the relationships the terms suggest and signify. Service user (the most popular term at present) is highlighted and critically analysed and found to be increasingly problematic and unable to describe the complexities of the service–recipient relationship. Alternative terms are discussed and found wanting, whilst a possible way forward is suggested to avoid the negative connotations of any one particular term.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: British Journal of Social Work
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0045-3102
Depositing User: H McLaughlin
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2009 10:11
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:36
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2324

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