NHS Jargon buster

The NHS is full of Jargon terms and acronyms so we have created this buster to help you understand and navigate the world of health care.
Man in scrubs in front of a Healthwatch banner

Come across an NHS word, phrase or acronym you don’t understand? Find it in our handy guide – just click on the first letter. 

If you are looking for more Trafford specific acronyms, click here


AandE, A&E – Accident and Emergency

The hospital department dealing with people who need treatment resulting from sudden illness or injury.

ABV – Alcohol by Volume

The strength of pure alcohol in an alcoholic drink, e.g. 12% ABV

AC – Audit Commission

National organisation responsible for ensuring Public Services is provided in the most cost effective way.

Acute Care

Hospital-based health services


The level of work carried out in a given period – e.g. the number of patients seen

ADSS – Association of Directors of Social Services

National body and forum for those responsible for providing social (non clinical) care.

ADV – Advocate

An advocate is a person who supports or speaks in favour of another person.

AHP – Allied Health Professionals

Professional services which are allied to Medicine, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Podiatry, and Occupational Therapy.


Adults with Learning Disability

Ambulance Trust

A legal entity responsible for providing ambulance services within a defined geographic area

Any willing provider

Model for providing healthcare by selecting who provides care from a list of those willing to offer it and who meet certain standards.

APH – Association for Public Health

National organisation concerned with the Health of the population.

AQH – Association for Quality in Healthcare

National organisation ensuring our healthcare is of the highest standard.

ASW – Approved Social Worker

Social worker recognised through qualification and experience.

AT – Acute Trust

An NHS body that provides medical and surgical services from one or more hospitals

AfC – Agenda for Change

Government proposal for reforming NHS staff pay systems.

Attn – Attention (For the attention of)

Directed to a particular person or department of an organisation.


A disease or conditionwith severe symptoms that only lasts for a short time.

Acute Trust

An NHS body that provides medical and surgical services from one or more hospitals



A draft of intended legislation that becomes an Act once both Houses of Parliament approve it.

Booked Admission Scheme

Electronic booking system for admission into hospital.

BACCH – British Association for Community Child Health

National organisation concerned with matters relating to the health of children.

BBV – Blood Borne Virus

Virus carried in the blood stream.

BDA – British Dental Association

National association responsible for Dentists.

Best Value

Sets a duty to deliver services of a clear standard, covering cost and quality, by the most effective, economic and efficient means available. Newly introduced for the health service under the NHS Plan

Better Care Better Value indicators

National benchmarks of good practice

BHF – British Heart Foundation

A national voluntary organisation concerned with Heart Disease.

BIR – British Institute of Radiology

National body for the science of x-rays and radioactive substances used in diagnoses and treatment.

BMA – British Medical Association

Professional association of doctors, which acts as a trade union, a scientific and an educational body.

BMJ – British Medical Journal

Journal for use by medical professionals.

BMS Booking Management System

The systems to manage the way appointments are made.

BPAS – British Pregnancy Advisory Service

National organisation providing advice for pregnant women.

BS – Beacon Services

A service, which has been, identified as providing outstanding quality.

BTS – Blood Transfusion Service

National service for the collection and distribution of blood supplies.

BUPA – British United Provident Association

Private healthcare company.


Caldicott Guardian

A person with responsibility for policies that safeguard the confidentiality of patient information.

Care Home

A residential home providing nursing and personal care, in addition to living accommodation.


A friend or relative who looks after an ill, disabled or older person on an informal, voluntary and long term basis.


Patients acting as consumers in exercising a “choice” of treatment provided.


The process of identifying, quantifying, monitoring and evaluating, a service within the NHS


An agreement between the Government and the voluntary and community sector, designed to improve relationships with commitments on both sides

CA – Clinical Audit

An evaluation by health professionals of the clinical standards they are achieving.

CAB – Citizens Advice Bureau

‘National organisation with local branches to provide advice and help

Care pathway

The process of diagnosis, treatment and care negotiated with the involvement of the patient and his/her carer or family

Care plans

Written agreements setting out how care will be provided to individuals


Telephone healthcare service for people with long term conditions providing one-to-one nurse led coaching and support to patients to help manage their condition

CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

A Service provided for children and young people with emotional, behavioural and mental health needs


Money spent on buying land, constructing, adapting or modernising buildings and buying major items of equipment

CC – Community Care

Provides social care and treatment outside of hospitals.

CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group

The group who commission services in the area. 

CCF – Congestive Cardiac Failure

Disease of the Heart.

CCP – Community Care Plan

A document which lays out the care and treatment of patients outside of hospital.

CDC – Child Development Centre

A service devoted to the study and delivery of help related to child development.

C diff – Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that can be present naturally in the gut. Does not cause any problems in healthy people however some antibiotics that are used to treat other health conditions can cause the bacteria to multiply and produce toxins (poisons) causing illness. As C. difficile infections are usually caused by antibiotics most cases happen in a healthcare environment, such as a hospital or care home

CDS – Community Dental Service

Dental services provided in the District by non-contracted staff.

CE – Chief Executive

The most senior manager within an organisation.

CFS – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A condition with a wide range of symptoms but particularly characterised by profound muscular fatigue after physical activity. Also sometimes known as M.E.

CG – Corporate Governance

A system that incorporates processes to minimise all risks in an organisation.

CG – Caldicott Guardian

A person with responsibility for policies that safeguard the confidentiality of patient information.

CG – Clinical Governance

A system of steps and procedures adopted by the NHS to ensure that patients receive the highest possible quality of care.

CGR – Clinical Governance Review

Assesses NHS trusts across seven components of performance

CGSU – Clinical Governance Support Unit

A group of staff that offer support to Health Services to measure the success/value of the services being offered.

CH – Care Home

A residential home providing nursing and personal care, in addition to living accommodation.

CHAI – Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection

National organisation involved with performance of the NHS.

Chair (person)

A chairman, also commonly chair is the highest officer of an organised group.

CHD – Coronary Heart Disease

Diseases affecting the heart or connecting arteries/veins.

CHI – Commission for Health Improvement

The process of providing information for better healthcare.

CAMHS – Child and adolescent ­mental health services

Services provided for children and young people with emotional, behavioural and mental health needs. They include services provided by PCTs, NHS trusts, social services and the voluntary sector

CHRC – Community Health and Resource Centres

Places where local people can get information on health and health care.

CHS – Community Health Services

NHS services provided outside a hospital.


A health professional directly involved with the care and treatment of patients

CMHT – Community Mental Health Teams

Made up of health and social services staff.

CMO – Chief Medical Officer

The government’s principal advisor and the professional lead for all medical staff in England.

CN – Clinical Negligence

Is a breach of duty by a healthcare practitioner in the performance of their duties.

CNO – Chief Nursing Officer

The government’s principal advisor and the professional lead for all Nursing staff in England.

CNST – Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts

Standards based on legislative requirements/codes of practice.

CNT – Clinical Network

A network of health professionals from different NHS organisations working together across institutional and local boundaries, to provide care for a particular disease or patient group.

CO – Carbon Monoxide

A poisonous gas.

COMAH – Control of Major Accident Hazards

A system to help reduce accidents and the hazards that cause them.


Process of identifying, quantifying, procuring, monitoring and evaluating a service within the NHS

Community care

Locally-based health or social care services provided to patients in and around their home designed to keep people independent

Community services

Care provided outside hospital by nurses, midwives, therapists and other professionals

Comm. Paed – Community Paediatrician

A doctor specialising in conditions affecting children working in a community (not hospital).


An agreement to work in partnership on key priority areas, signed up to by all NHS Trusts and Local Authorities across Birmingham and Solihull.




Two or more individuals, companies or organisations with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources to achieve a common goal. Here relates to groups of general practices.


A set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which an organization is governed.


Action to manage risk

Continuing care

Health care provided over an extended period of time for people with long-term needs or disability / people’s care needs after hospital treatment has finished

COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Another name for lung conditions including emphysema and bronchitis


Having the same geographic boundaries

CP – Care Pathway

The diagnosis, treatment and care of an individual.

CPA – Care Programme Approach

A system for assessing the health and social (non clinical) care needs of people living with a mental illness.

CPD – Continuing Professional Development

Part of a process of lifelong learning for all healthcare professionals helping them to care for patients.

CPK – Care Package

Following individual assessment, an appropriate package or programme of care is agreed.

CPL – Care Plan

A signed written agreement setting out how care will be provided for people with more complex needs.

CQC – Care Quality Commission

Regulates, inspects and reviews all adult social care services in the public, private and voluntary sectors in England


Commissioning for Quality and Innovation

CSR – Comprehensive Spending Review

A full inquiry into an area of spending by a public body.

CSU – Commissioning Support Unit

CT – Care Trust

NHS trusts that work in both health and social (non clinical) care.

CTs – Children’s Trusts

A future idea for bringing all local Health Services for children into one organisation.

CVD – Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease.


Day Case

A patient who has an investigation, treatment or operation and is admitted and discharged on the same day.

Day Care

Social support that is provided in a non-residential centre.

Day Surgery

A surgical procedure/treatment completed in one day.

Delayed Discharge

Where a patient who is fit for discharge remains in an acute hospital bed.


Independent contractor who may provide National Health Services or private dental treatment.

Dental UDAs

Unit of activity for dentists


The process of reducing or removing funds

DAT – Drug Action Team

A group of staff/services involved with the treatment and prevention of drug use.

DDA – Disability Discrimination Act

Law to end discrimination faced by disabled people.

DEAS -Department of Education and Skills

Government Department

DEFRA – Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs

Government Department

DES – Directly Enhanced Service

Extra services (usually of a specialist nature) specified by a Primary Care Trust.

DfES – Department for Education and Skills

Government Department.

DfT – Department for Transport

Government Department.

DGH – District General Hospital

A Hospital servicing one geographical area, e.g. Wythenshawe Hospital.

DLA – Disability Living Allowance

An allowance paid to disabled people.

DN -District Nurse

A registered nurse who has been trained to provide nursing care to people in their own homes.

DNA – Did not Attend

Failure to keep an appointment by a patient.

DOH – Department of Health

The department that supports the government in improving the health and well being of the population in England.

DOS – Directory of Services

A book containing lists of services available.

DRC – Disability Rights Commission

A body which promotes the rights of disabled people.

DRE – Disability Resource Exchange

A local service for all the aspects of disability, run by disabled people.

DTI – Department of Trade and Industry

Government Department.

DWP – Department for Work and Pensions

Government Department



Care that is planned in advance. It may be as a day case or inpatient

EandD, E&D – Equality and Diversity

A Code of Conduct that recognises areas where improvements are needed, takes action to make appropriate improvements, and has clearly defined performance management systems to measure those improvements.

EA – Earned Autonomy

NHS Organisations that are rated with three stars under the performance assessment framework and have earned some independence from Central NHS Management.

EAZ – Education Action Zone

National Government initiative aimed at building on the roles of schools by using partnerships and raising levels of educational attainment.

EBP – Electronic Booking Programme

A process to book hospital appointments at both a time and place that is convenient to the patient.

EBP – Evidence Based Practice

Planning and Managing services based on previously successful activities.

EC – Elective Care

Elective care is given at a planned/prearranged time rather than in response to an emergency.

EDBN – European Deaf Blind Network

Network of voluntary sector groups of deaf/blind people and their supporters.

EFL – External Financing Limit

Term used to describe financial limits.

EH – Electronic Health

Electronic health is more commonly called e-health and relates to the whole environment.

EHC – Emergency Hormonal Contraception

Contraceptive drug taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

EMA – Emergency Medical Admission

An admission to hospital, which has not been planned.

EMAS – Employment Medical Advisory Service

Service which helps decide an individual’s ability/inability to work through illness/incapacity.

ENT – Ear, nose and throat

A specialist within medicine.

EoL – End of Life

EP – Emergency Plan

A plan outlining how to deal with a serious or major incident.

EPP – Expert Patient Programme

A programme aimed at increasing a patient’s skills in managing their medical conditions.

EPR – Electronic Patient Records

Medical records are held electronically for each individual registered with a GP.

ES – Essential Services

Services of a basic standard, which are indispensable.

EWTD – European Working Time Directive

Rules about the maximum hours which can be worked.

Exec – Executives

Are responsible for the day-to-day management of an NHS organisation.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

A list of common questions that, when put together, is a good method to explain a complex plan.

FB – Future builders

Future builders will contribute to the development of four key government public service priorities including health and social care.

FFS – Five Facet Survey

Examination of aspects of a building such as space, condition, health and safety etc.

FIA – Freedom of Information Act 2000

A law giving people the general right to recorded information held by public authorities.

FOI – Freedom of Information

The general right to recorded information held by public authorities.

FPA – Family Planning Association

National body associated with sexual health and contraception.

FPC – Family Planning Clinic

A clinic that specifically deals with supplying advice on family planning and contraceptives.

FT – Foundation Trust

An Acute Trust which has earned the right to govern itself, through the provision of excellent service.

FTE – Full time equivalent


GDC – General Dental Committee

National body regulating Dentists.

GDP – General Dental Practitioner


GMC – General Medical Council

National body regulating Doctors.

GMS – General Medical Services

Services provided by NHS general practitioners.

GNA – Generic Nursing Assistant

Assistant or a nurse who is not specialised.

GNP – Gross National Product

The total economic outputs of a country.

GOC – General Optical Council

National body regulating Opticians.

Governing Body

A body of persons or officers having ultimate control. They are mainly constituted for the purpose of administration.

GP – General Practitioner

A local Doctor within Primary Health Care Services.

GP consortia

Groups of GP practices who will be taking over the role and responsibilities from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) for commissioning health services for the local population

GP consortia pathfinder

GP groups who are forming the first wave of emergent GP Consortia, helping to set out the new direction for the NHS

GPWSI – G P With Specialist Interest

A local Doctor within Primary Health Care who also has some interest in a particular area of medicine.

GUM – Genito-Urinary medicine

Specialist in Medicine concerned with diseases and conditions, which result from sexual activity.


Health inequality

Differences in health which can be seen observed between groups due to one group experiencing an advantage over another group

HOSC – Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Overview and Scrutiny Committees are structured to cover every aspect of Local Authority work ensuring that Cabinet Members are accountable for the decisions they make and for the services being delivered across the city. Health and Adults OandS Committee oversee health issues looking at the work of the NHS across the local area

HAD – Health Development Agency

A special health authority that aims to improve the health of people in England.

HAS – Health Advisory Service

A service to give advice on all health matters.

HC – Health Community

This includes all health organisations and staff within an identified area.

HCA – Health Care Assistant

Assistant employed to support other health care professions.

HE – Health Economy

All organisations within a local area who are engaged in providing services.

HEA – Health Equity Audit

Supports the narrowing of the health inequalities gap by informing the planning process to reduce inequalities in a local area.


Learn more about who we are and what we do.

HER – Electronic Health Record

Patient’s records kept electronically (on computer).

HES – Hospital Episode Statistics

Record of activity in hospitals.

HFEA – Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

National body to oversee scientific assisted conception.

HI – Health Improvement

Increasing the well-being of individuals or communities.

HIMP – Health Improvement and Modernisation Programme

A programme set up to modernise health improvement.

HIMP – Health Improvement Programme

A programme set up to improve health.

HIQ – Health Inequalities

Differences in the health of people across communities or geographical areas.

HLC – Healthy Living Centre

A project aimed at improving people’s health through community action.

HMR – Hospital Medical Record

Patient records held at a hospital.

HP – Health Promotion

Promotion of healthier living.

HPC – Health Professions Council

Government regulating body set up to protect the health and wellbeing of people who use the services of the Allied Health Professionals registered with them. At the moment, they register members of13 professions.

HPE – Health Promotion England

It develops and delivers public education campaigns and promotes healthy living.

HR – Human Resources

The management of people as employees.

HSE – Health and Safety Executive

Health and safety inspectors who are the enforcers for all risks associated with working activity.

HSG – Health Service Guidelines

Guidelines to which the Health Service should follow.

HSJ – Health Service Journal

Health Service’s weekly magazine.

HV – Health Visitor

A trained nurse who has done further training to specialise in the prevention of ill health.


Health and Wellbeing Board



An inpatient is a patient who has been admitted to a hospital and is occupying a bed

Integrated services

Services that are provided across professions and organisations according to people’s needs

I/C – Intermediate Care

Treatment and care given after an acute hospital stay or to prevent a person needing one.

ICAS – Independent Complaints Advisory Service

A national system to assist people to make a complaint about treatment and care.

ICATS – Integrated Clinical Assessment Service

This type of service aims to provide the most appropriate care for a patient at the most appropriate time by the most appropriate person.

ICU – Intensive Care Unit

Units within Hospitals devoted to the care of seriously ill people.

IMandT, IM&T – Information Management and Technology

The computer department.

Involvement, Engagement and Partnership Committee

A group established to help steer and co-ordinate engagement and involvement.

IPPC – Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control

Controlling or preventing the emission of pollution.

IRP – Independent Reconfiguration Panel

An independent panel established to provide the Secretary of State with advice when issues of substantial variation or development have been referred to him for a decision.

IS – Income Support

Benefits paid for people to reach a minimum income.

IT – Information Technology

The use of computer equipment.

IV – Intravenous

Into a vein in the body.

IWL – Improving Working Lives

A blueprint by which NHS employers and staff can measure the management of human resources.


JAQ – Job Analysis Questionnaire

A technique for comparing different types of jobs through the Agenda for Change Process to enable the correct pay to be set.

JC – Joint Commissioning

Where two or more Trusts join together to plan services.

JCB – Joint Commissioning Board

Group of people set up to commission a service for more than one area.

JCCG – Joint Clinical Contracting Groups

JCVI – Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

National Committee set up to consider vaccination and immunisation.

JMMC – Joint Medicines Management Committee

Local committee which considers medicines.

JSNA – Joint Strategic Needs Assessment

Combined process between local authorities and Primary Care Trusts to identify the current and future health and wellbeing needs of a local population and inform the collective priorities, investment and targets to lead to improved outcomes and reduce health inequalities


KSF – Knowledge Skills Framework

A system implemented within a Trust to measure an individual’s performance.

KPI – Key Perfomance Indicators

Indicators which show how well organisations or individuals are performing against their remit


Long Term Sustainability Model

The financial model which is linked to planning of health care expenditure

LA – Learning Accounts

A way of paying for learning for employees who work within the NHS.

LA – Local Authority

The local council.

LATs – Local Area Teams

(working with the National Commissioning Board)

LC – Local Compacts

Agreements with councils and other public bodies, including the NHS.

LCN – Local Commissioning Network

Local leadership groups of the CCG, forming the link between member practices. They support the Governing Body in developing the key priority areas and determine what actions need to be taken at local level to enable collective delivery of the CCG’s objectives.

LD – Learning Difficulties

People with development impairment.

LDC – Local Dental Committee

Committee which considers Dentists and local services.

LDP – Local Delivery Plan

Shows how the NHS, working with Social Services and other partners, plans to make improvements in health and health care.

LES – Local Enhanced Service

Extra services provided by a local GP Practice.

LGA – Local Government Association

National body of all local councils.

LINkS – Local Involvement Networks

LINks (Such as Trafford LINk, the forerunner of Healthwatch Trafford) became defunct in April 2013, when their role was taken over by the new Healthwatch network. LINks aimed to give citizens a stronger voice in how their health and social care services were delivered. Run by local individuals and groups and independently supported, the role of LINks was to find out what people wanted and monitored local services. Each local authority (that provides social services) was given funding and were under a legal duty to make contractual arrangements that enable LINks activities to take place.

LIT – Local Implementation Team

A team set up to implement local changes to practice.

LMC – Local Medical Committee

Committee which considers Doctors and local services.

LNP – Local Network Provider

Support organisation for Patient and Public Involvement Forums.

LOC – Local Optical Committee

Committee which considers Opticians and local services.

LOS – Length of Stay

Varying length of a hospital stay.

LPC – Local Pharmaceutical Committee

Committee, which considers Pharmacists and local services.

LSCB – Local Safeguarding Children Board

Board with bringing together key people in the area with responsibility for safeguarding

LSCG – Local Specialised Commissioning Group

This is a group of several Primary care Trusts (PCTs) which together commission specialised services.

LSOA – Lower Super Output Area

Super Output Area is a unit of geography used in the UK for statistical analysis. They are developed and released by Neighbourhood Statistics. Lower Super Output Area – consists of a population of around 1500.

LSP – Local Strategic Partnership

A local grouping of all public service providers (including voluntary sector) to plan joint actions.

LTC – Long Term Condition

A condition that the patient has lived with for many years. 

LVF – Left Ventricular Failure

Particular type of Heart failure.



A disease or the incidence of disease within a population.


The number of deaths in a given time or a community.


Involving representatives from a number of different services and organisations, with different skills

MAS – Minor Ailments Scheme

Local schemes to allow people to access medicines for minor conditions without visiting the Doctor’s surgery.

MCA – Mental Capacity Act

Act of Paliament

MDT – Multi Disciplinary Team

A Team made up of both Health and Social Care workers.

MH – Manual Handling

Moving objects and people without the help of a machine.

MH – Mental Health

Disorder of the Mind.

MHT – Mental Health Trust

Provides treatment and care for patients who are mentally ill either provided from a hospital or in the community.

MM – Modern Matrons

Provide strong leadership on wards and are highly visible and accessible to patients.

MMR – Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccination

Vaccines combined in one injection.

MoCAM – Models of Care for Alcohol Misusers

Provide practice guidance for local health organisations and their partners in delivering a planned and integrated local treatment system for adult alcohol misusers.

MPW – Making Partnerships Work

An agreement between the Department of Health, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector, which aims to promote the voluntary and community sector’s increasing role in contributing to the delivery of the NHS.

MRC – Medical Research Council

National body which regulates Medical Research.

MRSA – Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

A common skin bacterium that is resistant to some antibiotics

MSLC – Maternity Services Liaison Committee

Set up by hospitals to identify ways of achieving changes in maternity care and to make suggestions to the hospitals and PCTs.


NHS CB – NHS Commissioning Board

Proposed entity that will have the responsibility for holding GP Consortia to account and for allocating and accounting for NHS resources. NHS Commissioning Board will be established in shadow form as a Special Health Authority in 2011/12 and will become fully operational from 1 April 2012

NHS Confederation

An independent organisation that influences policy by bringing together the full range of NHS bodies to transform health services.

NHS Direct

A now defunct 24 hour, nurse-led telephone help line providing confidential health care advice and information. Replaced by the NHS 111 service.

NHS Direct Online

What was the NHS Health advice and information website. Now replaced by NHS Choice website

NHS Operating Framework

Each year details the national expectations for progress on reform and improving services to patients. The framework includes a description of key national priorities.

NHS Trust

A generic term for a legal entity/organisation providing health and social care services within the NHS.


Unplanned, emergency procedure

NAO – National Audit Office

National system of financial control of Public services.

NAPP – National Association of Patient Participation

Nat Pact – National Primary and Care Trust Development Programme

A Programme that provides organisational development support for PCTs and care Trusts.

NCAA – National Clinical Assessment Authority

A national body that provides a support service to the NHS. It gives advice to PCTs, NHS trusts and Strategic Health Authorities when they are faced with concerns over the performance of a certain doctor.

NCSC – National Care Standards Commission

A body that oversees standards in care homes.

NELH – National Electronic Library for Health

A website for health professionals providing up-to-date best practice information on diagnosis and treatment.

NES – National Enhanced Service

National service for very specialised services.

NEW – Nights, Evenings and Weekends Service

Primary Care provided out of normal daytime hours.

NICE – National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence

Statutory body responsible for deciding what treatment should be made available on the NHS / rovide patients, health professionals and the public with authoritative, robust and reliable guidance on current best practice.

NMAC – National Medical Advisory Committee

National Committee set up to advise the government on medical matters.

Non-exec – Non-executive Director

A member of the public appointed to the Board of NHS Trusts.

NPFIT – National Programme for IT

National plan for development of computerised systems in the NHS.

NPSA – National Patient Safety Agency

A body whose one core purpose is to improve patient safety by reducing the risk of harm through error.

NRT – Nicotine Replacement Therapy

The use of patches and gum to help smokers quit.

NSF – National Service Framework

A series of standards for a variety of conditions/groups within the community, which lay down minimum standards for service.

NSPCC – National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

National charity for children.

NVQ – National Vocational Qualification

A nationally recognised qualification, which recognises a person’s ability to do a particular job well.


OA – Open Appointment

No appointment necessary.

OATs – Out of Area Treatments

Out of Area Treatments.

OD – Organisational Development

Modernisation and change within an organisation.

OP – Out Patient

Treatment and care provided at a Hospital whilst the patient stays at home.

OPT – Optician

Specialist health professionals who test eyes and prescribe lenses to correct sight problems.

OSC – Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Committee of local councillors and others who oversee and scrutinise the work of the NHS.

OT – Occupational Therapy

To support and advise people who have been injured/ill, enabling them to get back to normal/return to work.


Paediatric care

The clinical specialty dealing with children’s illnesses

Palliative Care

Care which gives relief from symptoms but does not cure diseases. It is often given to people who are terminally ill

Performance Indicators

Measures of achievement in particular clinical and managerial areas used to assess the performance of a Trust.

Performance Management

A process for monitoring the commissioning and provision of services.


Specialist health professionals who make, dispense and sell medicines.


The name used to describe any organisation that provides a service to the NHS.

PAF – Performance Assessment Framework

The framework against which all NHS organisations are assessed, leading to the star ratings.

PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service

A service to support patients or their relatives with concerns about their NHS care/treatment and to provide information about local health services

PAS – Patient Administration System

A computer system to manage patient records.

PBC – Practice Based Commissioning

PBC engages GPs and other primary health care professionals in the commissioning of health services.

PbR – Payment by Results

Financial system to provide a transparent, rules based system for paying Trusts. The money hospitals receive is linked to the amount of work they do, is fixed by a national tariff and aims to reward efficiency, support patient choice and encourage activity for sustainable waiting time reductions

PC – Patient Choice

A scheme that offers choice to patients in England who have been waiting for more than six months for heart surgery.

PC – Primary Care

Health services, which are first point of contact for patients, e.g. GP’s Surgeries, Pharmacists, Local Dentists and Opticians.

PCA – Patient Choice Advisor

Advisors who can help patients make a choice about their treatment.

PCT – Primary Care Trust

Local NHS organisations responsible for the planning and securing of health services and improving the health of the local population.

PEAT – Patient Environment Action Team

PEAT teams include people from outside the Trust, such as infection control, personnel and patient representatives and provide a local ‘snapshot’ of environmental cleanliness and food standards in a hospital on the day.

PEC – Professional Executive Committee

A committee made up of local GP’s, nurses, Allied Health Professionals, a Social Service Representative as well as the Trust’s Executive Directors who are responsible for making decisions affecting clinical practice.

PF – Patients Forum

An officially constituted forum of local people.

PFI – Private Finance Initiative

An initiative to attract private money into the NHS.

PH – Public Health

Improving, promoting and protecting our quality of life and reducing health inequalities, working in partnership with others.

PHSO – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Independent organisation to help you make a complaint. 

PHC – Primary Health Care

Health services which are provided as a first response to illness – for example, General Practice.

PHEL – Public Health Electronic Library

On-line information service for Public Health.

PI Performance Indicator

A system to measure how a system is working.

PIL – Patient Information Leaflet

Written information for patients.

PIN – Personal Identification Number

A code number for a user of a system.

PLP – Personal Learning Plan

A record which shows the learning undertaken for an individual.

PLT – Protected Learning Time

GP practices within CCPCT close for half a day each month for training.

PMI – Private Medical Insurance

Insurance to pay for Private Medicine.

PMS – Personal Medical Services

Allows Primary care providers such as GPs to test different ways of delivering services.

PNA – Partial Nail Avulsion

Partial removal of a toenail.

PP – Patient Pathway

The route followed by a patient through and out of the NHS and Social Care Services.

PPA – Prescription Pricing Authority

Organisation that sets the prices of drugs.

PPG – Patient Participation Group

Groups run by local practices to hear the views of their patients on how services can be improved.

PPI – Patient and Public Involvement/ Influence

Increasing the involvement and influence of patients and the public (Local people) on the decisions made by NHS locally.

PR – Performance Ratings

The Government is responsible for setting priorities that in turn determine the indicators relating to key targets.

PRP – Performance Related Pay

System of bonuses for good work.

PS – Patient Surveys

A survey that enables local managers and health professionals to take account of patients’ views and provide data.

Public Health

The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts and informed choices of society, organisations, public and private, communities and individuals.


QA – Quality Assurance

All actions taken to ensure that standards and procedures are adhered to and that delivered products or services meet performance requirements.

QARC – Quality Assurance Reference Centres

Regional centres that monitor and ensure that NHS screening services meet minimum standards.

QIPP – Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention

QOF – Quality and Outcomes Framework

System of bonuses for good work in Primary care.


Recurring costs

All funding that is guaranteed to be received every year is recurrent

Resource Allocation System

A formula used to allocating funding dependant on need

Respite Care

Provides an opportunity for a carer to have a break.


Usually referring to money or other resources where it can only be used for defined purpose

RandD, R&D – Research and Development

Research and Development.

RCGP – Royal College of General Practitioners

National body for GPs.

RCN – Royal College of Nursing

National body for Nurses.

RES – Race Equality Scheme

A statement of how a public body plans to meet both its general and specific duties to promote equality under the Race Relations Act.

RNCC – Registered Nursing Care Contribution

The assessed care provided by a registered general nurse to a patient in a nursing bed in a care home setting.

RNIB – Royal National Institute for the blind

National body concerned with blindness.

RNID – Royal National Institute for Deaf People

National body concerned with deafness.

RPST – Risk Pooling Scheme for Trusts

Standards against which all Trusts are measured to demonstrate they have efficient measures.

RRT – Rapid Response Team

Provide emergency care at home and prevent unnecessary hospital admission especially of older people.



A term used to cover all patient treatments and consultations offered by the NHS

Specialised services

Services, which are unusual or complex and may have to be provided outside the area in larger centres of population.

SAP – Single Assessment Process

This ensures that older people receive appropriate, effective and timely responses to their health and social care needs.

SC – Secondary Care

Services provided by medical specialists who generally do not have first contact with patients (e.g. cardiologist, urologists, dermatologists; a hospital).

SC – Social Care

Non-medical care which is aimed at providing vulnerable people with care and support to enable them to live their lives as fully as possible.

SCBU – Special Care Baby Unit

Specialists who care for very ill babies.

SCG – Specialised Commissioning Group

A group of many PCTs who collaboratively commission very specialised services.

SCR – Serious Case Review

SE – Social Exclusion

This refers to people who are excluded from society. This is usually caused by lack of money, work, education, disability, ethnic grouping or gender.

SHA – Strategic Health Authority

A health authority who manages the performance of the NHS across a region.

SIRI – Serious Incidents Requiring Investigation

SLA – Service Level Agreement

A contract between a service provider and a customer. It should specify which services are to be provided, and how they are to be measured and delivered.

SLT – Speech and Language Therapy

Help for people with speech or language Problems.

SMR – Standardised Mortality Ratio

Statistical measure used to assess the health of a population.

SO – Standing Orders

Basic rules of an organisation.

SOA – Super Output Area

A unit of geography used in the UK for statistical analysis. They are developed and released by Neighbourhood Statistics.

SoS – Secretary of State

UK cabinet position responsible for the Department of Health

SPL – Service Plan

The written end product of a process to identify the aims and objectives and the resource requirement of an organisation over a three to five year period.

SPS – Specialised Services

Services, which are unusual or complex and may have to be provided outside the area in larger centres of population.

SSFH – Secretary of State for Health

Government Minister responsible for Health.

SSI – Social Services Inspectorate

Undertakes reviews of social service departments.

STD – Sexually Transmitted Disease

Disease transmitted from person to person during sexual activity.

STKH – Stakeholder

A person or organisation with an interest in a particular issue.



Removal of part of a budget so that it can be used to fund some centralised service


A generic term for a legal entity/organisation providing health and social care services within the NHS.

TBA – To Be Announced

T/C – Transitional Care

Care services provided to a patient moving from acute to community care.

TC – Treatment Centre

A centre for diagnosis and treatment of patients, often taking place in one day.

TC – Tertiary Care

The third and highly specialised stage of treatment, usually provided in a specialist hospital centre. See also primary care and secondary care

TCS – Transforming community services


Unscheduled Care

Services that operate outside of normal working hours, such as AandE and Walk-in Centres



Upstream interventions

Upstream interventions target the circumstances that produce adverse health behaviours


In the NHS context: a person who uses health and/or social services.



WIC – Walk in Centre

The provision of primary care services to people without the need for an appointment

W3C Web Guidelines – World Wide Web Consortium Guidelines

Guidelines that were developed to facilitate optimal website accessibility

WDC – Workforce Development Confederation

The development of staff employed to provide NHS services.

Wipp – Working in partnership programme