This is a glossary of terms, abbreviations, acronyms and jargon I have come across in my work on health and wellbeing (so health, social care, local government and occasionally a little wider). I put it together for my own use, but if it is helpful for others, that would be great (but of course no guarantees of accuracy, no liability etc. etc. This is my understanding, but it has not been checked by lawyers, specialists etc. so you are advised not to rely on it. It may, however, provide a starting point for further checking or advice.).
My aim is to provide an explanation and link (rather than just what an abbreviation stands for) but I haven’t been able to provide that for all entries yet.
If you have any corrections or additions, do please feel free to suggest them in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
It’s in alphabetical order and all on one page.
There is a list of other glossaries at the bottom of the page.
5YFV – Five Year Forward View. Published on 23rd October 2014 thiis is a strategic plan for the NHS in England produced by the main national health bodies, generally seen as led by Simon Stevens of NHS England.
A&E – Accident and Emergency
A&T units – assessment and treatment units (for people with learning disabilities)
ABPI – Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Accountable Care Organisations – bodies taking responsibility for all health needs in a local area (an idea being imported from the US)
ACE – adverse childhood experiences
ACEVO – Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
ACG – Adjusted Clinical Groups. A trademark registered risk assessment system from Johns Hopkins:
ACMD – Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
ACO – Accountable Care Organisation. Providers coming together ‘to take responsibility for the cost and quality of care for a defined population within an agreed budget’ (King’s Fund). The phrase comes from the United States and is being used for a single contract for a range of provision (acute, community health etc.) as opposed to an ‘accountable care system’ (now ‘integrated care system’) which is about separate organisations working voluntarily together.
ACPO – Association of Chief Police Officers
ACS – Accountable Care System. See also ACO and ICS. Local health (and possibly local government) organisations (including commissioners and providers) coming together voluntarily to better integrate services, practically and financially (rather than acting in competition with each other).
ACS – Ambulatory Care Sensitive.
Nuffield Trust report on ACS admissions to hospital: http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/publications/focus-preventable-admissions
Acute, e.g. acute services, hospital or trust. Short term, coming quickly to crisis, such as A&E, surgery, maternity, radiotherapy. Usually provided in bigger hospitals.
ADASS – Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
ADHD – Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
ADLs – Activities of daily living
Admitted patients – inpatients, i.e. admitted to hospital
AE – Adverse event
Aetiology – the study of the causes or origins particularly of diseases or disorders
AGPs – Aerosol generating procedures
AHP – Allied health professional (e.g. paramedics, occupational therapists, physiotherapists)
AHSC – Academic Health Science Centres
AHSN – Academic Health Science Networks
23/5/13 15 new AHSN’s announced: http://www.england.nhs.uk/2013/05/23/acc-health-sci-ntwrk/
Akathisia – an unpleasant sense of restlessness and agitation which can be a symptom of mental health problems.
AKI – Acute Kidney Injury
ALB – Arms length body (i.e. at ‘arm’s length’ from the Government)
ALMO – Arms length management organisation. Housing organisations at ‘arms length’ from the local council.
ALS – Advanced life support
AMD – Age related Macular Degeneration. (A disease of the eye typically affecting older people. It comes in ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ forms, the ‘wet’ form being more serious).
AMHP – Approved mental health professional
AMI – Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack).
AMR – Antimicrobial Resistance
AMRC (or AoMRC) – Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
AMU – Acute Medical Units, (where emergency cases are admitted to hospital. Also called Clinical decision units, medical / surgical admission units or Observation Units.)
ANP – Advanced Nurse Practitioner
APC – Adult Protection Co-ordinator
APMS – Alternative Provider of Medical Services. A way of contracting with non-NHS providers for primary care (GPs).
APMS – Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey
APP – Advanced paramedic practitioner
APPG – All Party Parliamentary Group
AQMA – Air Quality Management Areas
AQP – Any Qualified Provider
ARSAC – Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee
ART – Assisted reproductive technology
ASA – Advertising Standards Authority
ASA – Amateur Swimming Association
ASC – Adult Social Care
ASCOF – Adult social care outcomes framework
The indicators for 2014-15: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/21/labour-coalition-nhs-hospitals-casualty-cuts-tories-lib-dems
Outcomes data: http://ascof.hscic.gov.uk/
ASD – Autism spectrum disorders
ASH – Action on Smoking and Health
ASYE – Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (part of training for children’s social workers)
AT – Area Team of NHS England. Also sometimes abbreviated to LAT, local area team.
AT – Assistive technology
ATL – Association of Teachers and Lecturers
ATU – Assessment and Treatment Unit
AUR – Appliance use review (a pharmacy service)
AVPU – A way of assessing a patient’s level of consciousness, standing for ‘alert, verbal, pain, unresponsive’.
AWOL – Absent without leave (e.g. mental health inpatients absconding)
BAC – Blood alcohol content
BACD – British Academy of Childhood Disability
BAME – Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
BAPIO – British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
BASW – The British Association of Social Workers
BAU – Business as usual
BCF – Better Care Fund
BCT – Behaviour change technique
BIA – Best interest assessor. A role in the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) process.
BIT – Behavioural Insights Team. A social purpose company, spun out from Government (No.10 Downing Street), applying behavioural insights in support of social purpose goals.
Blinded – as well as the normal meaning in terms of losing sight, this term is also refers to people conducting research not being aware of which ‘intervention’ (e.g. a drug or psychological therapy) they are administering, so as not to sub-consciously (or even consciously) influence the results. However, it can be a bit alarming when you see phrases such as ‘we will have a blinded research assistant to assess fidelity.’
Blues and twos – emergency vehicles (e.g. ambulances and fire engines), referring to the blue lights and two tone sirens.
BMA – British Medical Association
BME / BAME – Black and minority ethnic groups
BMI – Body mass index. For an adult this is the weight in kilograms divided by the heigh in metres squared.
BMI calculator: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
BMJ – British Medical Journal
BNF – British National Formulary. (List of medicines and guidance on prescribing).
BPPC – Better Payment Practice Code. Target for the proportion of invoices to be paid within 30 days of receipt.
BPS – British Psychological Society
BSL – British Sign Language
CA – Combined authority. Created as part of devolution deals, such as Greater Manchester.
CAB – Citizens Advice Bureau
CAD – coronary artery disease
CAF – Charities Aid Foundation
CAF – Common assessment framework
CAFCASS – Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. It represents children in family court cases and is independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities. It was set up in 2001 under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act. It is a non-departmental public body accountable to the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.
Caldicott – report / guardians. Dame Fiona Caldicott produced a report in 1997 on the confidentiality of patient information. The ‘Caldicott Report’ also gave rise to ‘Caldicott Guardians’ whose responsibility is to ensure patient data is kept secure. She produced another report on Information Governance in the Health and Care system in April 2013:
The Government produced their response in September 2013:
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CAP – Committee of Advertising Practice
Capitation – paying care providers to meet all or most of the care needs of a specific population.
Cat scan – computerised axial tomography scan. See CT scan
CBA – Controlled before and after study
CBA – Cost benefit analysis. An study of the relative costs and benefits in money terms from an intervention or programme. (See also CEA and CUA)
CBM – Cognitive bias modification
CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy
Committee on Climate Change. An independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. It advises the government on emissions and preparing for climate change.
CCE – Consumer and community engagement
CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group
CCG OIS – Clinical Commissioning Group Outcome Indicator Set
CCP – Co-operation and Competition Panel, now part of Monitor.
CCPS – Certificate of current professional status. Required by doctors to work overseas.
CCT – Compulsory competitive tendering. (Largely introduced in the 1980’s in local government, forcing councils to invite outside organisations to bid to run specified services).
CDF – Cancer Drugs Fund
C-diff – Clostridium difficile
CDOP – Child Death Overview Panels
CDs – Controlled Drugs
CDU – Clinical decision units. Wards where emergency cases are admitted to hospital and kept for observation, also called Acute Medical Units or medical / surgical admission units or observation units.
CEA – Cost-effectiveness analysis. An assessment of the number of life years added by an intervention (see also CBA and CUA)
CEM – College of Emergency Medicine
CEP – Capped Expenditure Process. A process for containing spending in particular parts of the country facing difficulties. It applies to whole systems (including both commissioners and providers) rather than individual organisations. It was introduced in April 2017 in a letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement to local health care leaders.
See an explanation from the King’s Fund here: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/capped-expenditure-process-explained
CES – Community enhanced service. Services which go beyond what NHS England has commissioned, usually in a community setting, such as GP services beyond the scope of the normal contract.
CFS – Chronic fatigue syndrome (also called ME – Myalgic encephalopathy)
CfWI – Centre for Workforce Intelligence
CHC – Community Health Councils. Patient representative bodies between 1974 and 2002.
CHC – Continuing healthcare
CHD – Coronary heart disease
CHRE – Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (now the Professional Standards Authority, PSA)
CI – Chief Investigator (e.g. in clincial research)
CIC – Community interest company. (Many Healthwatch’s are set up as CIC, to fulfil the statutory requirements to be social enterprises).
CIEH – Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
CIL – Community Infrastructure Levy. This is a charge that local authorities can raise on new development in the area, to pay for infrastructure that the development produces the need for (such as schools, health facilities or play areas).
CIP – Cost Improvement Programmes
CIPFA – Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (pronounced ‘sipfa’)
CJS – Criminal justice system
CKD – Chronic Kidney Disease
CM – Case Management
CMA – Competition and Markets Authority. It took over many of the functions of the Competition Commission and the Office of Fair Trading. It aims to promote competition and help make markets work effectively, including such things as investigating mergers, investigating anti-competitive agreements and enforcing consumer protection legislation.
CMD – Common mental disorders
CMHT – Community Mental Health Team
CNS – Clinical Nurse Specialist
COCP – Combined oral contraceptive pill
CoD – cause of death
COMARE – Committee On Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment
Constitution – see NHS Constitution
COPD – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
COPM – Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. (A measure designed for use by occupational therapists to assess changes in outcomes in self-care, productivity and leisure).
CP – Child protection
CPA – care programme approach. NHS Choices says, “The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is a way that services are assessed, planned, co-ordinated and reviewed for someone with mental health problems or a range of related complex needs.” Rethink Mental Illness says this means you get a care co-ordinator, a care plan and joint agreement on how many services should support you.
Fact sheet from Rethink Mental Illness (pdf, 8pp, 663kb)
CPA – ‘Comprehensive performance assessment’ (an inspection regime for local authorities used in the 2000’s).
CPAG – Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (supports NHS England)
CPAP – “Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of positive airway pressure ventilator, which applies mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways continuously open in people who are not able to breathe spontaneously on their own.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_positive_airway_pressure)
CPD – Continuing professional development
CPN – Community psychiatric nurse
CPN – Contract performance notice.
CPRD – Clinical Practice Research Datalink. A part of the Department of Health and Social Care that collects de-identified patient data from GPs and elsewhere and licenses it for use by others including researchers.
CPS – Crown Prosecution Service
CQC – Care Quality Commission
CQRS – Calculating Quality and Reporting Service. “The Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) is an approvals, reporting and payments calculation system for GP practices. It helps practices to track, monitor and declare achievement for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), Direct Enhanced Services (DES) and Vaccination and Immunisation (V&I) programmes.”
CQUIN – Commissioning for Quality and Innovation. A proportion of the payment by commissioners to providers linked to the achievement of specific quality improvement goals.
CRB – Criminal Records Bureau. Generally used to mean a formal check of criminal records to ensure a person was safe to work with vulnerable people. Now DBS, Disclosure and Barring Service.
CRP tests – C-reactive protein tests. Can help differentiate between a viral and a bacterial infection.
(See Cochrane review on their use to see whether antibiotics are needed for acute respiratory infections: http://www.cochrane.org/news/news-events/current-news/antibiotics-spot-tests-reduce-unnecessary-prescriptions
CRT – Crisis Resolution Team. (For mental health)
CRUK – Cancer Research UK
CSE – Child sexual exploitation
CSEW – Crime survey for England and Wales
CSF – Critical success factors
CSU – Commissioning Support Unit.
CT Scan – computerised tomography scan. An x-ray scan from a number of different positions allowing a computer to make a 3-d image.
CTA – Call to Action
Document published in March 2014 to encourage thinking on the future of the NHS:
CTAP – Computed Tomography During Arterial Portography
CTIMPS – Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products
CTO – Community treatment order
CTR – Care and treatment reviews. Reviews of people with learning disabilities and/or autism to ensure they are getting the right care in the right place.
CTS – Council tax support. Replaced Council Tax Benefit from 2013.
CTSI – Chartered Trading Standards Institute
CTU – Clinical Trials Unit
CUA – cost-utility analysis. An assessment of the number of quality adjusted life years added by an intervention or programme (see also CBA and CEA)
CVD – Cardiovascular disease
DALY – Disability Adjusted Life Years
DBS – Directly bookable services
DBS – Disclosure and barring service (which took over from the CRB)
DCLG – Department of Communities and Local Government. Renamed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government after the January 2018 reshuffle.
DCP – Division of Clinical Psychology (of the British Psychological Society).
DCR – Drug consumption rooms. Also known as overdose prevention places. Safe spaces for those with drug dependency, with sterile equipment and access to treatment and social support.
DDRB – Doctors and Dentists’ Review Body on renumeration
Deaneries – regional bodies previously responsible for certain medical training. Replaced in April 2013 by Local Education and Training Boards.
DES – directed enhanced service. (Additional services by GPs required by NHS England for which a payment is made)
DfE – Department for Education
DFG – Disabled Facilities Grant
DGH – District General Hospital
DH – Department of Health (sometimes abbreviated to DoH). In the January 2018 reshuffle, it was renamed the Department of Health and Social Care.
DHP – discretionary housing payments
DHSC – Department of Health and Social Care. Renamed in the January 2018 reshuffle. Previously the Department of Health.
Direct payments – payments from local authorities for social care, for social care users or carers to purchase care directly. (See also personal budgets and Individual support funds)
DLA – Disability Living Allowance (replaced by PIP, April 2013)
DMC – Data Monitoring Committee. An independent group of experts monitoring patient safety in a clinical trial.
DMEC – Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee (in relation to university research. See also DMC)
DMI – Digital Maturity Index. The National Information Board produced the index to enable individual health providers and health and care economies to track their progress in digitisation of health records.
DMIC – Data Management Information Centres
DMS – data management system
DNA – Did not attend
DNA – Deoxyribonucleic acid. A molecule that encodes genetic instructions.
DNA CPR – Do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation
dob – date of birth
DOLS – Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
DPH – Director of Public Health. (The plural is usually written as DsPH)
DSR – Directly Standardised Rate. The translation of raw numbers into a standard allowing comparisons between different areas. It could be rates of deaths, hospital admissions etc. The simplest rate would be number of events per 100,000 population. More sophisticated rates might take account of differences between the two populations.
Explanation from NHS Scotland: http://www.scotpho.org.uk/downloads/methodology/standardisation-guide-june-2011.doc
See also “Technical Briefing 3: Commonly used public health statistics and their confidence intervals”
DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The American Psychiatric Association’s dictionary of mental disorders.
An article giving some of the arguments, prior to the publication of ‘DSM-5’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/may/12/medicine-dsm5-row-does-mental-illness-exist
D2A – discharge to assess, or the ‘home first’ model. This suggests patients should discharged from hospital as soon as possible, with an assessment of their care needs made at home.
DTOC – Delayed transfer of care
DV – Domestic violence
DVT – Deep vein thrombosis
DWP – Department for Work and Pensions
EAL – English as an additional language
EBITDA – Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (e.g. used in the Five Year Forward View)
ED – Emergency Department
EDC – Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (they affect hormones)
EDD – Estimated date of delivery (of baby, i.e. of birth).
Ed Psychs – Educational Psychologists
Ed Sykes – If you’ve only heard this spoken, you may wonder who this Ed Sykes person is. See Ed Psychs.
EEA – European Economic Area. The 27 (since the UK left) European Union countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).
EHC – Education, Health and Care
An EHC assessment is a requirement coming out of the Children and Families Act (2014). Existing Statements of Special Educational Need have to be transferred to EHC Plans by April 2018.
EHC – Emergency hormonal contraception (the ‘morning after’ pill)
EHIC – European Health Insurance Card
EHS – Emergency hospital services
Elective admissions or care – planned or not unexpected (as opposed to emergency admissions).
ELSA – English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Elsa – character inducing extreme emotional responses in small children (Elsa of Arendelle, in Disney’s Frozen and Frozen II).
EMA – European Medicines Agency
EMCDDA – European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Enablement – (see also re-enablement). Helping people to be able to do daily tasks themselves (which perhaps they were able to do before an accident or illness) so as to be able to live more independently. Sometimes described as the same as reablement but in some areas they are different services.
Endocrinology – is the study of hormones.
ENDPB – Executive Non-departmental public body
ENT – Ear, nose and throat
EOF – Education Outcomes Framework
EOL – End of life
EOLC – End of life care
EPR – Electronic patient record
EPS – Electronic Prescription Service. (Allows prescribers such as GPs to send prescriptions electronically to dispensers such as pharmacies)
ERDF – European Regional Development Fund
ESA – Employment and Support Allowance
ESC – European Society of Cardiology
ESD – Early supported discharge
ESF – European Social Fund
ESRC – Economic and Social Research Council
ETTF – Estates and Technology Transformation Fund
EU – European Union
EWS – Early warning scores (see also NEWS, National Early Warning Score)
FACS – Fair Access to Care Service. Guidance issued by DH in 2003.
FCE – Finished consultant episode. The time spent under the care of a consultant. A very detailed definition of a consultant episode is given here:
FCE – Functional capacity evaluation. An assessment of someone’s ability to function in different circumstances.
FDA – the United States Food and Drug Administration
FDF – Food and Drink Federation
fEC – full economic costing. The full cost of a research project, for use in working out funding contributions. It includes direct costs such as salaries and their overheads, allocation of costs for such things as estates and laboratory time and indirect costs such as capital employed.
FFT – Friends and Family Test
FFW – fit for work (benefits)
FGM – female genital mutilation
FMC – first medical contact
FNC – see NHS-FNC (NHS funded nursing care)
FNP – Family Nurse Partnership
FOI – Freedom of information.
FOT – Forecast outturn
FPH – Faculty of Public Health
FPPR – Fit and Proper Persons Requirement
Francis – sometimes used as an abbreviation for the Francis report, written by Robert Francis QC, into the problems at the Mid-Staffordshire Foundation NHS Trust.
FRS – Fire and rescue service
FRS – Fellow of the Royal Society
FRS – Family resources survey
FSA – Food Standards Agency
FSM – free school meals. Frequently used as a proxy for deprivation.
FT – Foundation Trust
FT – Financial Times
FTE – Full time equivalent. (i.e. converting what the part time workforce would be equal to in terms of number of full time workers). Sometimes described as: WTE – Whole time equivalent.
FTP – Fitness to Practice
G&A – General and acute (in relation to planned admissions to hospitals)
GAD – Generalised anxiety disorder
GCP – Good clinical practice
GDC – General Dental Council
GDP – General Dental Practitioner
General Pharmaceutical Council
Getting it Right First Time – see GIRFT
GI – gastrointestinal
GIC – Gender identity clinic
Gini coefficient – a measure of inequality (such distribution of income) ranging from 0 for perfect equality to 1 representing maximum inequality.
GIRFT – Getting it Right First Time. A national improvement programme designed to reduce unwarranted variation in service delivery and clinical practice, supported by £60m of funding from the Department of Health.
GM – Genetically Modified (e.g. GM foods)
GM – Greater Manchester (e.g. in the context of devolution of health spending to Greater Manchester in March 2015)
GMC – General Medical Council
GMS – General Medical Services. A form of contract for service with a GPs’ practice rather than individual GPs. (See also PMS)
Golden Patient – the first patient of the day on a theatre list. The idea is that, particularly for non-elective (such as trauma) patients, there can be initial delays in getting patients ready for theatre. So someone is selected the day before as the first patient, so you can get going quickly. I have seen it used as far back as 2012, but have not found the original source of the term.
GP – General Practitioner
GPC – BMA General Practitioners Committee
GPES – GP extraction system. Automatically takes data from GPs’ IT systems.
GPhC – General Pharmaceutical Council
GPNRO – General Practice National Recruitment Office
GPPAQ – General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire
GPWSI – GPs with special interests
HALE – Health adjusted life expectancy
HAP – Hospital acquired pneumonia
HAPU – Hospital acquired pressure ulcers
HBAI – Households below average income
HBV – Hepatitis B virus
HCA – Health Care Adviser
HCAI – Healthcare Acquired Infection. Also Healthcare Associated Infection
HCP – Health Care Professional
HCP – Healthy Child Programme
HCPC – Health and Care Professions Council
HCSA – Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association
HCV – Hepatitis C virus
Healthwatch – The consumer champion for health and social care. There is a Healthwatch in each of the 152 single tier and county council areas in England. They replaced the Local Involvement Networks or LINks. There is also a national body, Healthwatch England which can provide support and take up issues at the national level.
HDU – High dependency unit
HEE – Health Education England
HEI – Higher Education Institution
HES – Hospital Episode Statistics
HFEA – Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
HFMA – Healthcare Financial Management Association
HFSS – foods high in fat, salt and sugar
HIIA – Health inequality impact assessment
HIIT – High intensity interval training
HIP – Health Infrastructure Plan. A five year programme, launched in September 2019, to invest in infrastructure, including a new hospital building programme (the ’40 new hospitals’ promised during the general election of that year). The second phase is known as HIP2.
HIT – High Intensity Therapist
HLE – Health life expectancy
HMO – Health Maintenance Organisation
HOSC – Health overview and scrutiny committee
HQIP – Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership
HRA – Health Research Authority
HRG – Health related group. A way of dividing up conditions and treatments for determining payment rates by commissioners. “HRGs are groupings of clinically similar conditions or treatments that use similar levels of healthcare resources.” (National Tariff Payment System 2016-17, p.10).
HRG – Healthcare Resource Groups (groupings of patient events judged to consume similar levels of resources, used as a sort of ‘currency’ in commissioning. There are about 1,400 of them).
HSC – Health Selection Committee (of the House of Commons)
HSCIC – Health and Social Care Information Centre.
An Executive Non-departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is changing its name to NHS Digital from July 2016.
HSE – Health and Safety Executive
HSIB – Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch. Came into being on 1st April 2016. To be replaced by the Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB), as set out in the Health Services Safety Investigations Bill.
HSL – Health and Safety Laboratory
HSMR – Hospital standardised mortality ratio
HSSIB – Health Service Safety Investigations Body. To be set up by the Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, replacing the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.
HV – Health visitor
HWB – Health and Wellbeing Board (sometimes abbreviated as HWBB)
HWE – Healthwatch England
IAPT – Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
IB – Incapacity Benefit
ICAS – Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
ICC – Intra-cluster coefficient (statistic used in experimental trials)
ICD – International classification of diseases
ICECSCR – International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (The Equalities and Human Rights Commission suggested in April 2016 that the forthcoming junior doctors’ contract could contravene this convention).
ICER – Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio. The cost of extra treatment for a given outcome, or more formally, as NICE puts it: “The difference in the change in mean costs in the population of interest divided by the difference in the change in mean outcomes in the population of interest.” The most commonly used ICER in the UK is the QALY, or Quality Adjusted Life Year (which might tell you, for instance, that paying £15,000 for a drug could give someone one extra high quality year of life).
ICH – International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use. Brings together regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry to produce guidelines for the development and registration of medicines. Started in 1990, it was established as an international non-profit association under Swiss law in 2015. [From its website]. Amongst its guidelines is that on Good Clinical Practice, on the conduct of clinical trials, hence the abbreviation ICH-GCP.
ICH – GCP – international guidelines and standards on the conduct of clinical trials (see also ICH).
ICO – Information Commissioner’s Office
ICO – Integrated Care Organisation (as proposed by Labour in the 2014 election campaign, for integrating health and social care)
ICP – Individual care plan
ICP – Integrated Care Provider (See https://www.england.nhs.uk/integrated-care-provider-contract/)
ICP – Integrated Care Partnership
ICP – Intracranial Pressure
ICS – Integrated Care System. Previously known as ‘accountable care system’. “An Integrated Care System is where health and care organisations voluntarily come together to provide integrated services for a defined population.” (Source: NHS England, Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19.)
ICSP – Integrated Customer Service Platform (the ‘daughter’ of NHS Choices). http://www.ehi.co.uk/news/EHI/8771/outsourcing-explored-for-nhs-choices
ICU – Intensive Care Unit
IDCR – Integrated Digital Care Record (the new name for Electronic Patient Record: http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2013/jul/08/electronic-patient-records-big-thing-gps-hospitals)
IELTS – International English Language Testing System. (Doctors are required to have achieved a certain level before they can be licensed to practise in the UK).
IFG – Institute for Government
IFR – Individual funding request. A request for funding for a treatment not normally funded by the commissioner.
IFRS – International Financial Reporting Standards
IGPR – International GP Recruitment Programme
IIGOP – Independent Information Governance Oversight Panel
(First annual report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/iigop-annual-report-2014)
ILI – Influenza-like illness
IMCA – Independent Mental Capacity Advocate
IMD – Index of multiple deprivation
The indices of deprivation are being revised (2014-15): https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/english-indices-of-deprivation
Indices of deprivation 2010: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2010
Detailed article on the differences between measures in the four countries of the UK: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/hsq/health-statistics-quarterly/no–53–spring-2012/uk-indices-of-multiple-deprivation.html?format=print
IMHA – Independent Mental Health Advocacy
IMP – investigational medicinal products (medicines used in research such as clinical trials).
INLIQ – Indicators No Longer Incentivised in QOF. Indicators which continue to be collected by NHS Digital, where the information is felt to be useful, but which are no longer used in the Quality Outcomes Framework (where meeting certain thresholds against indicators triggers payments to GPs).
IOFM – Intraoperative Fluid Management. Management of the hydration of a patient during a surgical operation, usually by an anaesthetist.
IOSH – Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
Incidence – the number of new cases (e.g. of an illness, injury or mortality) amongst a specific population during a particular period. (Whereas ‘prevalence’ is the proportion of cases at a given time). So this would tell you about the risk of contracting an illness, sustaining an injury etc.
IP – Intellectual property
IPC – Integrated Personal Commissioning. A programme to provide personal budgets combining health and social care to various groups of people with high needs, announced by Simon Stevens at the 2014 LGA annual conference.
IPSIS – Independent Public Safety Investigations Service (starts in April 2016).
Consultation on setting up the service:
IPT – Interpersonal Psychotherapy
IPVA – Interpersonal violence and abuse
IRISS – The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. A charitable company which aims to promote positive outcomes for people who use Scotland’s social services.
IR – Identification Rules. A way of identifying which healthcare activities are ‘specialist’ (so within the remit of NHS England rather than Clinical Commissioning Groups).
IR(ME)R – Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations
IRO – Independent Reviewing Officer. A person appointed to periodically review a child’s care plan and to challenge the local authority if they believe the plan is not in the best interests of the child.
Feature article, how independent are IROs:
IRP – Independent Reconfiguration Panel. A non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health providing independent advice on service change.
IS – Income support
ISDS – Investor-state dispute settlement. A mechanism for resolving disputes under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which critics are concerned could mean private companies could sue governments for loss of profits, outside of national legal systems.
ISF – Individual support fund or Individual Service Fund. A person’s personal budget is held by a care provider but the person decides how it is spent to meet their needs.
ISRCTN – International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number.
A system for monitoring randomised controlled trials world wide by allocating unique numbers to them.
ISTC – Independent sector treatment centres
IT – Information technology
ITC – Information and communications technology
ITT – Invitation to tender
ITU – Intensive therapy unit
IVAR – Institute for Volunteering Research
JAG – The Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (sets standards and provides quality assurance in endoscopy)
JCVI – Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
JDC – Junior Doctors Committee of the BMA. [On the website spelled without an apostrophe)
JHWS – Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy
JRF – Joseph Rowntree Foundation
JSA – Job Seeker’s Allowance
JSNA – Joint Strategic Needs Analysis
JTAI – Joint Targeted Area Inspections. Joint inspections by Ofsted, the CQC, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Inspectorate of Probation on how local services work together to safeguard vulnerable children.
Kinship carers – family and friends looking after children (as opposed to being looked after by parents or foster parents for instance)
KLOE – Key Lines of Enquiry (e.g. the framework of questions used by inspectors of public services)
KPI – Key performance indicator
L&D – Liaison and Diversion. Services for offenders with mental health, learning disabilities, substance or other vulnerabilities.
LA – Local authority
LAC – Looked after children
LAC – Local authority circular (e.g. as issued by the Department of Health to communicate guidance or a requirement for urgent action by local authorities).
LACDP – Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People.
LARCs – Long-acting reversible contraceptives.
LAT – Local area team. NHS England is structured into 4 regions and 27 local area teams.
See here for a map of regions and LATs: http://www.england.nhs.uk/about/regional-area-teams/
LBW – low birth weight
LCP – Liverpool Care Pathway
LD – Learning disability
LDA – Learning difficulty assessment. To be phased out by September 2016 under the Children and Families Act 2014
LDP – Local Delivery Partnerships; the local delivery arms of the NHS Leadership Academy
LDR – Local digital roadmap
LEP – Local economic partnership
LES – Local Enhanced Services (additional funding to GPs for particular services)
LETB – Local Education and Training Board. 13 local boards operated by Health Education England. (Replaced the Deaneries)
LGA – Local Government Association (a voluntary association of local authorities in England and Wales, of which most are members. Undertakes lobbying on their behalf and promotion of improvement)
LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender
LGBTQIA – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual
LGIU – Local Government Information Unit
LGO – Local Government Ombudsman
LHCRE – Local Healthcare Records Exemplars. They are regional collaborations to develop shared health and care records, initially funded by NHS England. (They seem to be pronounced ‘lycra’ or sometimes ‘lacra’.)
LHE – Local health economy
LINks – Local Involvement Networks. The predecessor bodies to Healthwatch.
LMC – Local Medical Committee. Representative committees of local NHS GPs. (They are recognised in legislation)
LOS – Length of stay
LPC – Local Pharmaceutical Committee
LPN – Local Professional Networks. Networks for pharmacy, optometry and dentistry within each of the NHS England Local Area Teams
LSP – Local strategic partnership
LTC – Long term conditions
LTFU – Lost to follow up (in clinical trials)
LWBC – Living with and beyond cancer
MAC – Migration Advisory Committee (advises the government on migration issues, including skills shortages within occupations, such as nursing)
Mandate – see NHS Mandate
Marac – Multi-agency risk assessment conference (in relation to abuse or domestic violence)
News feature including links to research: http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/jul/07/domestic-violence-are-maracs-making-a-difference-to-victims-lives
MASH – Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
(e.g. see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/working-together-to-safeguard-children-multi-agency-safeguarding-hubs)
MCA – Mental Capacity Act
MCCD – Medical certificate of cause of death
MCI – Mild cognitive impairment (the slowing of memory and thinking skills as we get older)
MCP – multispeciality community provider (the suggestion in the 2014 Five Year Forward View that there should be a degree of merger between primary and secondary care, by GPs bringing in specialists or acute trusts employing GPs with more local services).
MDD – Major depressive disorder
MDGs – Millennium Development Goals
MDO – Medical Defence Organisation
MDT – Multi-disciplinary team
MDU – Medical Defence Union
ME – Myalgic encephalopathy (also called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
MECC – Making Every Contact Count
MEH – Multiple exclusion homelessness
See, for instance, the results of research: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/tackling-homelessness-and-exclusion-understanding-complex-lives
MEP – Member of the European Parliament
MET – Motivational enhancement therapy
MUR – Medicines Use Review
MeSH – Medical Subject Headings. A ‘vocabulary’ used in indexing life sciences articles and books.
MHA – Mental Health Act
MHC – Major health conditions
MHCLG – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Renamed from the Department of Communities and Local Government in the January 2018 reshuffle.
MHFA – Mental health first aid
MHMDS – Mental Health Minimum Data Set
MHN – Mental Health Network
MHRA – Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
MINAP – Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project. A part of the National Cardiac Audit Programme, collecting data about the care for heart attack patients from the initial call through till final discharge.
MIU – Minor Injuries Unit
M&M – morbidity and mortality
MMR – Measles, mumps and rubella. (There was a discredited health scare which linked the MMR vaccination to autism and reduced the number of children having the jab)
MND – Motor Neurone disease
MOH – Major obstetric haemorrhage
Monitor – sector regulator for health services in England. (In perhaps crude terms, Monitor deals with finance and mergers while the CQC deals with quality of service).
Morbidity – having disease or the incidence of disease
MP – Member of Parliament (UK)
MPET – Multi-professional education and training
MPIG – Minimum Practice Income Guarantee.
Set up after changes to the GP contract in 2004 to ensure smaller practices still obtain a sustainable income.
Article on how its withdrawal threatens rural practices: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/country-doctors-could-disappear-from-rural-communities-as–government-reduces-funding-and-workloads-increase-8798821.html
MPS – Medical Protection Society
MRC – Medical Research Council
MRCGP – Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners. The qualification for entering general practice.
MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
MSA – Mixed sex accommodation
MSC – Medical Schools Council. A representative body for the UK’s medical schools.
MSK – Musculoskeletal
MSLC – Maternity Service Liaison Committee
MSM – Men who have Sex with Men
MSP – Making safeguarding personal
Multip – short for multipara or multiparous and meaning a woman who has given birth twice or more (in contrast to ‘primip’, short for primipara, a woman giving birth for the first time).
MUPS – Medically unexplained physical symptoms (see also MUPS)
MUR – Medicines Use Review. MURs are carried out by accredited pharmacists with people taking multiple medicines, particularly for long term conditions, to discuss how the patient is getting on with the medicines and whether they are working.
MUS – Medically unexplained symptoms (see also MUPS)
MUST – Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool
MVPA – Moderate to vigorous physical activity
MWF – Medical Women’s Federation
NAIRO – National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers
NAO – National Audit Office
NAPAC – The National Association for People Abused in Childhood
NAPC – National Association of Primary Care
NAVCA – National Association for Voluntary and Community Action – http://www.navca.org.uk/
NBM – Nil by mouth (or nothing my mouth), i.e. no food or drink. Sometimes also NPO – nil per os.
NCAP – National Cardiac Audit Programme.
NCAPOP – National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcome Programme
NCCID – National Collaborating Centre for Indicator Development
NCD – Non-communicable disease
NCIN – National Cancer Intelligence Network.
A “UK-wide partnership operated by Public Health England” that “coordinates and develops analysis and intelligence to drive improvements in prevention, standards of cancer care and clinical outcomes for cancer patients.”
NCMP – National child measurement programme. Introduced in 2006. Measures children’s height and weight at age 4-5 and 10-11.
NDA – National Diabetes Audit
NDPB – Non-departmental public body (i.e. not under the direct control of a government department)
NDTMS – National Drug Treatment Monitoring System
NED – Non-executive director
NEL – non-elective (i.e. not a pre-planned visit to hospital)
Never events – serious but in principle preventable events in the health service, which ‘should never happen’
NEWS – National Early Warning Score. A tool to help identify clinical deterioration in patients. It is based on 6 physiological factors. Scores range from 0-20 with higher numbers worse. A score of 5 or more is the threshold for urgent clinical review.
NGC – Next Generation Care
[Seems to be the name given to specific projects in different parts of the country, rather than a national initiative]
NGO – Non-governmental organisation (such as a charity. Often used in the context of international development)
NHS – National Health Service
NHSBT – NHS Blood and Transplant
NHSCB – National Health Service Commissioning Board. The name was changed to ‘NHS England’ on 26/3/13 (http://www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk/blog/2013/03/26/nhs-england/)
NHSCC – see NHS Clinical Commissioners.
NHS Clinical Commissioners. The independent, collective voice of CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) at a national level.
NHS Commissioning Assembly
NHS Digital. Previously called the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
NHSE – NHS England. Was initially known as the NHS Commissioning Board. Created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
NHS FNC – NHS (National Health Service) funded nursing care.
NHS IQ – NHS Improving Quality. (The improvement body for the health service from April 2012, replacing five bodies).
NHSLA – NHS Litigation Authority. (‘insurance scheme for Trusts’. The higher the standards you can demonstrate the lower the premium)
NHS Mandate – this sets out the Government’s strategic requirements for the NHS to NHS England
NHSPRB – NHS Pay Review Body
NHS Safety Thermometer – see Safety Thermometer
NHSX – is a joint organisation for digital, data and technology. Its roles are to include setting policy and standards, supporting the use of new technologies, reforming procurement and championing training.
NIB – National Inclusion Board. Seems to have been used on some occasions when actually meaning the National Inclusion Health Board, e.g.
NIB – National Information Board
NIBSC – National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
NICON – Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care
NICOR – National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research
NIESR – National Institute of Economic and Social Research
NIGB – National Information Governance Board. (Abolished 1st April 2013).
NIH – National Institutes of Health. It is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is “the nation’s medical research agency”.
NIHB – National Inclusion Health Board
NIV – Non-invasive ventilation. Air, usually with added oxygen, is delivered through a face or nasal mask under positive pressure. It is non-invasive because it is not through a tube into the windpipe. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-invasive_ventilation)
NIHR – National Institute for Health Research
NLRS – National Learning and Reporting System
NLW – National Living Wage. Originally a voluntary hourly rate set independently and updated annually by the Living Wage Foundation. Subsequently hijacked by Chancellor George Osborne who used the term to refer to a new, higher level minimum wage.
NMC – Nursing and Midwifery Council
NNRU – National Nursing Research Unit
NNT – number needed to treat: the number of people who need to be treated, for instance with medication, to be sure that at least one of them has an effective response.
NOAC – Novel oral anticoagulant. For a discussion of the origin of the abbreviation and possible complications of its use, see:
NOID – notifications of infectious diseases
NOK – next of kin
Non-admitted patients – not admitted to hospital, i.e. outpatients
Nosocomial infection – a hospital acquired infection.
NPI – New Policy Institute
NPO – Nil per os, latin meaning nothing by mouth. See also NBM.
NPS – New Psychoactive Substances
(e.g. see report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47845#.U38ACa1dXg0)
NRPF – No recourse to public funds (this might apply to immigrant families seeking leave to remain in the country, waiting for a decision from the Home Office)
NRT – Nicotine replacement therapy (to help people stop smoking. This could be such things as nicotine gum or patches)
NSAH – National Skills Academy for Health
NSAID – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
NSC – National Screening Committee
NSF – National Service Framework
NSOL – National Shortage Occupational List
NSP – Needle and syringe programmes
NTPS – National Tariff Payment System. The rules governing how commissioners pay for health services in England.
OAP – old age pensioner
OAP – out of area placement
OBC – outcomes based commissioning
OBR – Office for Budget Responsibility
OCP – Oral contraceptive pill
ODA – Olympic Delivery Authority
Odds ratio – a way of assessing risk or likelihood of something happening (such as getting a disease). It works in the same way as odds for horse racing.
OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It describes itself as “providing a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.” Also described as rich countries’ think tank. They have also done some interesting work on wellbeing (and how it can be measured as an alternative to GDP).
Ofsted – The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
OHCA – out of hospital cardiac arrest
OJEU – Official Journal of the European Union (amongst other things, some large tenders have to be advertised there to allow organisations from elsewhere in the EU to bid for them)
ONS – Office for National Statistics
OOH – out of hours (service)
OPCS – Operating Procedure Code Supplement
OPD – Outpatient Department
OR – Odds ratio
ORCP – Operational Resilience and Capacity Planning (especially for deailing with winter pressures)
ORSs – Oral rehydration salts
OTC – Over the counter. As in OTC drugs, i.e. medicines that can be bought, not requiring a prescription.
OU – Observation unit (see also Clinical Decision Unit)
OU – Open University
Overdiagnosis – the diagnosis of disease that would never cause symptoms or death in a person’s lifetime. [Understood by less than 3% of the population. Not surprising it seems to me – seems an odd word for that concept.]
OVM – Overseas Visitor Managers. See also OVO. People employed to identify and recover costs from those not entitled to free care.
OVOs – Overseas Visitor Officers (employed by hospitals to identify and recover costs from those not entitled to free care). See also OVM.
p.a. – per annum, i.e. for each year (e.g. the cost is £30m p.a. = the cost is £30 million pounds a year).
PA – Physical activity
PAC – Public Accounts Committee
PACAC – Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. Previous called just the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC).
PACS – Primary and Acute Care System. (A form of health provision emerging from the 2014 Five Year Forward View that there should be a degree of merger between primary and secondary care. This would be like, but an extension of, the Multi-speciality Community Provider model, and would integrate hospital, primary care, mental health and potentially social care services.)
A short description of what it might look like is given on the expression of interest form here: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/moc-care-eoi-guid.pdf
Palliative – treatment that provides relief from pain or symptoms without providing a cure. Usually used to refer to treatment for incurable conditions, often at the end of life.
PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Generally located in hospitals to help communications with patients.
To find PALS services: http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Patient%20advice%20and%20liaison%20services%20(PALS)/LocationSearch/363
There was also a PALS online service which is no longer available, see note at: http://www.pals.nhs.uk/
PAM – Patient Activation Measure
(See, for instance, http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/supporting-people-manage-their-health)
PAM – NHS Premises Assurance Model
Parnuts – Foods for Particular Nutritional Uses
Patients’ Association – small national body collecting opinions and campaigning for improvement
PACS – Primary and acute care services. Bodies combining primary and secondary care (hospitals and GPs) as suggested in the Five Year Forward View, published on 23rd October 2014.
PAS – Patient Administration System
(Described in NHS Confed document on using data: http://www.nhsconfed.org/Publications/Documents/ned-guide-hospital-data.pdf)
PAS – Patient Access Schemes
PASC – House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee. Subsequently called the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC)
PASLU – Patient Access Scheme Liaison Unit
PbR – payment by results
PCA – Personal Capability Assessment
PCN – Primary Care Networks. Groups of GP practices covering populations of 30,000 – 50,000, working with other health providers and local bodies to offer integrated, community based healthcare. Proposals for PCNs were set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019.
PCT – Primary Care Trust (abolished by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act)
PDA – patient decision aids
PCO – Primary Care Organisation [generic term]
PDS – Primary dental services
PEAT – Patient Environment Action Team. (Replaced by PLACE in April 2013)
PEC – Priority Enhanced Care
Personal budgets – the allocation to an individual of the costs of their care. The money might be under the direct control of the individual or it might be spent on their behalf by service commissioners.
Personal health budgets – budget allocated to individuals for their health care
PGD – Patient Group Direction. They are: “are written instructions for the supply or administration of medicines to groups of patients who may not be individually identified before presentation for treatment.” – http://www.medicinesresources.nhs.uk/en/Communities/NHS/PGDs/
PHB – Personal health budgets
PHE – Public Health England
PHM – Population health management
PHOF – Public health outcomes framework
PHRD – Public health responsibility deal. (An approach where the government works with the private sector to encourage voluntary changes to improve public health).
PHSO – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
PHW – Public Health Wales
PI – Principal investigator (e.g. in research)
PIC – Participant Identification Centres
PICU – Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
PICU – Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
PIL – Patient Information Leaflet (that comes in the packaging with medicines to explain usage, side effects etc.)
PLAB – Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. Tests for doctors trained overseas before they can practise in Britain.
PLACE – Patient Led Assessments of the Care Environment. (Replaced PEAT assessments)
PLCV – Procedures of limited clinical value
PLICS – Patient Level Information and Costing Systems
See for instance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/patient-level-cost-collection-201213-review-and-lessons-for-the-future
PM – Prime Minister
PM – Performance management
PM – Project manager
PM – Practice manager (typically of a GP practice)
PM – Post meridiem. In the afternoon.
PM – Post mortem
PMCF – Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund. First announced in October 2013 with £50m to improve access to general practice, with a further £100m announced in 2014.
PMH – Past medical history
PMLD – profound and multiple learning disabilities
PMS – Personal Medical Services. A form of contract for services with an individual GP rather than a GP practice. (See also GMS)
PMS – Premenstrual syndrome
PN – Practice Nurse
PN – Press notice
PNA – Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment
PoC – Programmes of Care.
NHS England’s 74 Clinical Reference Groups are organised into 5 programmes of care: internal medicine; cancer and blood; mental health; trauma; women and children.
POC – Proof of concept
POET © – Personal outcomes evaluation tool. Developed by charity ‘In Control’ and Lancaster University, with government funding, to assess outcomes for personal budget recipients.
POLCE – Procedures of low clinical effectiveness
Population health – “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group”
Portage – “is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families” (from website). (Apparently it also means carrying boats or cargo between two navigable waters.)
PPD – Prescribed place of detention
PPE – Patient and public engagement (sometimes also PPI, PPP or PPV – Involvement, Participation, Voice).
PPE – Personal protective equipment
PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Oxford degree popular amongst people who go on to become politicians and civil servants)
PPI – Patient and public involvement
PPI – Proton Pump Inhibitor
PPIF – Patient and Public Involvement Forums. (Replaced Community Health Forums in 2002, and were replaced by Local Involvement Networks (LINks) in 2008, which were then replaced by Healthwatch in 2013.
PPN – Procurement Policy Note. (E.g. issued by the Crown Commercial Service)
PPP – Patient and public participation (more commonly PPI or PPE)
PPRS – Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
PPV – Patient and public voice (more commonly PPI or PPE)
PQQ – Pre-qualification questionnaire. (An early stage in a procurement process to assess who will be qualified to bid)
PREM – Patient Reported Experience Measure
Prevalence – the proportion of a population with a condition (such as an illness) at a given point in time (whereas ‘incidence’ is the number of new cases over a period of time). So this tells you how common it is (rather than how likely you are to get it).
Primary care – usually the first point of contact for health care (diagnosis, advice, treatment) such as that provided by GPs.
Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund – see PMCF
Primip – short for primipara and meaning a women who is pregnant for the first time (in contrast to ‘multip’).
Principal authorities – in relation to local government, these are county, district or single tier councils but not parish, town and community councils.
PRN medication – medications to be taken as needed. Stands for Pro re nata, meaning ‘as the thing is needed’
PROMS – patient-reported outcome measures
PRSB – Professional Records Standards Body
PRU – Pupil referral unit
PSA – Professional Standards Authority. Oversees statutory bodies that that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
PSED – Public Sector Equality Duty
PSF – Provider Sustainability Fund. Successor to the Sustainability and Transformation Fund from 2018-19.
PSHE – Personal, social and health education (generally relating to it being taught to children)
PSNC – Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
PSW – Peer support worker
PTS – Patient transport service
PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder
PWID – People who inject drugs
PWP – Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (see: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/workforce-planning-news-and-review/publications/improving-workforce-planning-for-the-psychological-therapies-workforce/ )
PYLL – Potential Years of Life Lost (item 1a in the NHS Outcomes Framework)
Q&A – Question and answer (e.g. question and answer session after a presentation at a conference or event).
Quality premium – an amount paid to CCGs by NHS England for meeting certain targets
QALY – Quality adjusted life year.
Used when assessing the cost effectiveness of different drugs or treatments. Rather than just judging the number of lives save (life years) it considers the quality of those lives. One QALY is one year of perfect life, with the number of years weighted by quality, judged between 0 and 1.
QI – Quality Improvement
(Also the television programme, QI, standing for Quite Interesting). http://qi.com/television/
QIPP – Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention
The workstreams of the programme were taken over by NHS England from 1/4/13 (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/qipp-national-workstreams-updated)
QIS – Quality Improvement Scheme
QNI – Queen’s Nursing Institute
QoL – Quality of life
QOF – Quality and Outcomes Framework
QSG – Quality Surveillance Group
RCA – Root cause analysis
RAS – Resource allocation system. Used to assess the level of personal budget a person should have).
RCEM – Royal College of Emergency Medicine
RCGP – Royal College of General Practitioners
RCN – Royal College of Nursing
RCoA – Royal College of Anaesthetists
RCOG – Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
RCP – Royal College of Physicians
RCT – Randomised control trial
RD – Responsibility deal (see also PHRD – Public health responsibility deal)
RDA – Recommended daily allowance (e.g. for sugar, salt, vitamins and other components of food)
RDS – Research Design Service. A service funded by the National Institute for Health Research to provide support to health and care researchers on design and methodological issues when preparing applications for grants.
Reablement (re-enablement) – helping people (with a disability or poor physical or mental health) do things for themselves so as to be able to live more independently.
Real terms – in the context of spending this means after adjusting for inflation. For instance if a budget increases from £100 one year to £103 the following year, but inflation is 3%, it hasn’t increased in real terms (the £103 would buy exactly the same as the £100 the previous year).
REC – Research Ethics Committee
Regulation 28. Is a power for coroners to issue a prevention of death report when they are concerned that similar incidents could occur again in future. It is one of the regulations in Statutory Instrument 1629 of 2013, The Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.
In health – any non-hospital setting
In housing – residential care
RGN – Registered general nurse
RGPPB – Regulation of General Practice Programme Board. Brings together 11 national bodies responsible for the regulation and oversight of general practice in England.
RIAT – Restoring invisible and abandoned trials. An initiative as part of the campaign to make the results of all trials (such as those on new medicines) public, so that failed trials are not hidden, distorting the overall view of results.
RiO – A particular system used to store electronic patient records
RLE – Remaining life expectancy.
RO – Responsible Officer
RPS – Royal Pharmaceutical Society
RQ – respiratory quotient
RQ – reportable quantity
RSPH – Royal Society for Public Health
RTA – Road traffic accident
RTI – respiratory tract infection
RTT – referral to treatment. How long it takes from a patient being referred for further help to starting treatment.
SACN – Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition
SAD – Seasonal affective disorder (being depressed in winter because of a lack of sunlight)
SAE – serious adverse event
Safety Thermometer – a methodology for measuring, monitoring and analysing patient harms and ‘harm free’ care. It measures harm from pressure ulcers, falls, urine infections (in patients with a catheter) and venous thromboembolism (VTE)
SALT – short and long term support (in Adult Social Care)
SALT – Speech and Language Therapy
SAPC – Society for Academic Primary Care
SAM – Society for Acute Medicine
SARCs – Sexual assault referral centres
SARS – Severe acute respiratory syndrome
SAS doctors. “Specialty and associate specialist (SAS) doctors* are non-training roles where the doctor has at least four years of postgraduate training, two of those being in a relevant specialty” from https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/doctors/career-opportunities-doctors/sas-doctors
SAU – Services as Usual (e.g. as a comparison to some intervention in a research trial)
SBNT – Social behavioural network therapy
SBP – Systolic blood pressure
SCN – Strategic Clinical Networks.
NHS England has established four strategic clinical networks covering: cancer, cardiovascular, maternity and children, and mental health, dementia and neurological conditions.
SCOC – Standing committee on carers
SCP – Surgical care practitioners
Newspaper article about the role: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/aug/30/nurse-perform-surgery-patients-alone-surgical-care-practitioner
SCR – Serious Case Review
SCR – Summary care record
Script – short for prescription
SCS – Sustainable Community Strategy
SCTS – Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery
SD – Standard deviation
SDA – Severe Disablement Allowance
SDCS – Strategic data collection service. The system through which health and care organisations can submit data to NHS Digital.
SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals (global targets, replacing the Millennium Development Goals)
SDH – Social determinants of health (for instance how housing or urban design influence people’s health)
SDM – Shared decision making. (See https://www.england.nhs.uk/shared-decision-making/)
SDT – Self-determination theory
Secondary care. Generally hospitals. ‘Primary’ care is the first place you usually go with a health issue (generally to the GP), and if necessary you may then go on to a ‘second’ or specialist source of help.
Section 47 Enquiry – an enquiry under S.47 of the Children Act 1989 by a social services authority where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, to decide whether the authority should take any action.
SEN – special educational needs
SEND – Special educational needs and disability
A range of links to further sources of information:
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014:
Sequin – well, it could be a small, shiny disk decorating clothing, but if you’re just hearing, rather than reading this, in a health context, it’s more likely to be CQUIN, a form of financial incentive.
SES – Socio-economic status
SGO – Special guardianship order
SHMI – Summary Hospital-Level Mortality Indicator. The ratio between the numbers in hospital and the expected number according to averages across England by patient type. (The other main mortality indicator is HSMR)
See also http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/bruce-keogh-review/Pages/published-reports.aspx
SHO – Senior house officer
SIRI – serious incidents requiring investigation
SLAM – Service Level Agreement Monitoring
SLAM – South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
SLT – Speech and language therapy
SMCP – Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
SMI – serious mental illness
SME – small and medium sized enterprise
SNA – Social network analysis
SOB – shortness of breath
SOCITM – Society of Information Technology Management. From the website: “the professional body for people involved in the leadership and management of IT and digitally enabled services delivered for public benefit.”
SOF – Single Oversight Framework for NHS providers. Segmentation by NHS Improvement of NHS trusts, into one of four categories depending on their support needs, designed to help them get CQC ratings of ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. Operational from November 2016.
SOFI – Short Observational Framework for Inspection. A methodology used by CQC.
SoMe – social media
SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
Special Measures – a status applied to some public sector bodies (e.g. schools, councils, health trusts) where they are deemed to be failing to perform to a given standard and particular measures are taken designed to help them improve, or be taken over.
See: ‘A guide for NHS Trusts’ from the CQC, Monitor and the TDA: http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/news/regulators-publish-guide-special-measures-trusts
SPOC – Single Point of Contact
SpR – Specialist registrar
SRE – Sex and relationship education (e.g. in schools)
SRS – sex reassignment surgery
SSA – Safe Staffing Alliance
SSRI – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (class of anti-depressant drugs, designed to increase the level of serotonin in the brain)
STD – Sexually transmitted disease (see also STI – sexually transmitted infection)
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (often in the context of boosting take up of these subjects in school and university to benefit the economy, and increasing take up by girls)
STEMI – ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction. A myocardial infarction is what is commonly known as a heart attack. The ST elevation is where there is an abnormally high reading in the ST part of the electrocardiogram.
(Source: wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_medical_abbreviations:_S)
Sten – ‘standard ten’. A way of standardising scores into a ten point scale in psychometric tests with respect to a larger population of results.
STI – Sexually transmitted infection (see also STD – sexually transmitted disease)
STP – Sustainability and Transformation Plans. Announced in December 2015, the first draft plans were to be submitted by June 2016 by each of the 44 areas in England. They are five year plans to meet the aims of the Five Year Forward View. The abbreviation was subsequently (2017) used for ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships’ as the intention developed to make them a more significant part of the NHS structure.
A blog with my view on the plans, from October 2016: https://www.equwell.org.uk/stps-where-are-they-headed/
SUDI – Sudden unexpected deaths in infancy
SUI – serious untoward incident
SWAN – The Social Work Action Network. A membership organisation promoting “a model of social work and social care practice which is rooted in the value of social justice”.
T&O – trauma and orthopaedic
TA – Teaching assistant
TARN – The Trauma, Audit and Research Network
TAU – Treatment as usual. (In research testing an ‘intervention’ it would typically be compared to what would happen otherwise, in other words the usual ‘treatment’ which could be medical, a therapy or any other sort of help)
TBA – to be arranged
TBC – to be confirmed
TDA – Trust Development Authority
TECS – Technology enabled care services (such as telecare, telehealth and self-care apps)
TEP – Treatment escalation plan
TFA – Trans fatty acids
Thermometer – see Safety Thermometer
TIA – Transient Ischaemic Attack (a ‘mini-stroke’)
TINA – There is no alternative. (A phrase made familiar by Margaret Thatcher suggesting that Government policy was the only option).
TLAP – Think Local Act Personal. A national partnership of more than 50 organisations including central and local government, the NHS, providers and representatives of those with care and support needs, committed to personalisation and community based support.
TMG – Trial Management Group (e.g. to oversee university research)
Townsend Index, or Townsend Deprivation Index – a measure of deprivation or poverty (see also IMD, Index of Multiple Deprivation)
ToC – Theory of change. Used in research to indicate how it is hypothesised an intervention will have an effect.
TOC – Table of contents
TPD – Tobacco Products Directive. (A European Union directive).
TSA – Trust Special Administrator
TSA – Third Sector Assembly
TSC – Trial Steering Committee (e.g. to oversee university research)
TSO – Third sector organisation
TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It is argued that it could leave CCGs open to be sued by American private healthcare companies for restricting trade if they do not open all services to competition.
TTO – To take out (as in drugs prescribed when leaving hospital)
UA – unitary authority. (A council responsible for all services and functions which in shire areas are split between county and district councils)
UASC – Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
UBRN – Unique booking reference number
UCC – Urgent care centre
UEC – Urgent and emergency care
UHC – Universal health care (where the whole population of a country has access to health services)
UKCES – UK Commission for Employment and Skills
UKCRC – UK Clinical Research Collaboration
UKHCA – United Kingdom Home Care Association
UKPHR – United Kingdom Public Health Register. Regulates public health professionals.
UNCRC – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
USS – Ultrasound scan
UTC – Urgent treatment centre
UTI – Urinary tract infection
Vaping – the use of e-cigarettes (so called because it involves inhaling vapour rather than smoke)
VBAC – Vaginal birth after a caesarian
VCR – Vaccination coverage rate
VCS – voluntary and community sector
VCSE – voluntary, community and social enterprise (sector)
VFM – Value for money
VMS – Vasomotor symptoms. This includes menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats caused by constrictions and dilations to blood vessels.
VPS – Violent Patient Scheme. Introduced in 2004 as a ‘directed enhanced service’ to provide a secure environment for patients who had shown challenging and sometimes violent behaviour in their GP practice. [Seems to operate at least in the South West and Central Southern areas. Limited information available on the NHS England website.]
VSM – Very senior management. The top NHS pay grade.
Waiting time standards – the NHS constitution says patients have the right to access certain services within maximum waiting times. The list of waiting times is given in the Handbook to the Constitution (p.31-34 of the 2015, second version).
WCA – Work Capability Assessment.
Delivered by French owned company Atos. Has been criticised for being insensitive. Many decisions rejected on appeal.
WCC – White cell count
WEMWBS – Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale
WHD – Warm Home Discount. Scheme to support people at risk of fuel poverty.
WHO – World Health Organisation
WIC – Walk in centre
WMA – World Medical Association
WRAG – Work related activity group. People who are currently too ill to work but may be able to in future so can engage in activities such as revising their CV that may help their future job prospects.
WRAP – Wellness recovery action plans
WRAP – Waste and Resources Action Programme
WRES – Workforce race equality standard
WTD – Working Time Directive. European Union rules which mean that workers don’t normally need to work more than an average of 48 hours a week unless they choose to do so.
WTE – Whole time equivalent. (i.e. converting what the part time workforce would be equal to in terms of number of full time workers). Also sometimes described as FTE – full time equivalent.
YJB – Youth justice board
YLD – Years lived with disability
YLL – Years of life lost
YOT – Youth offending team
YTD – year to date (often used in financial reports)
ZBB – zero based budgeting (building up your budget from nothing, rather than assuming the same as the previous year then making adjustments for that up or down)
ZHC’s – Zero hours contracts
Here are some other glossaries I have come across:
NHS Confederation – acronym buster. There is also an NHSacronym app for iphones or android with over 700 abbreviations and acronyms.
List of medical abbreviations on Wikipedia:
The Free Dictionary by Farlex – Medical Dictionary
NICE (of terms used on their site)
Health and Social Care Information Centre (abbreviations and acronyms)
Health news glossary from NHS Choices (largely to do with research)
Royal College of Nursing (terms rather than abbreviations, not as long as some of the other lists)
Health Research Authority Glossary
Glossary of health, social care and information technology
‘Think Local Act Personal’: Care and Support Jargon Buster
Socialist health association
York Health Economics Consortium: glossary of health economic terms:
Most recent update: 23/11/2020
(That’s the last time something was added, not a general review of all the content. If you find any mistakes, do please let me know)