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Jargon Buster Directory  

The Central Source for all Jargon

Health - NHS Hospitals

The NHS is full of consultants, specialists and administrators eager to make their stamp in forming and utilising NHS hospital Jargon.

The administrators are perhaps the worst at creating NHS hospital jargon as they love to pigeon hole everything from patients to waiting rooms from appointments to treatments.

NHS hospital jargon is also used to calibrate and evaluate statistical and performance schedules for government spin use.

More money has been pumped into the NHS system over the last few years than ever before but all it ever seems to produce is more administrators creating ever more baffelling terms and phrases for NHS hospital jargon.


NHS Hospitals Jargon


Acute services Medical and surgical treatment provided in hospital.

Admissions When a patient is admitted to hospital Ambulatory care Services where people do not stay in hospital overnight e.g. out-patients, x-ray, day surgery and medical diagnostics.



Beds The number of beds in a ward or department refers to staffed beds used overnight



Care Programme Approach (CPA) Co-ordinated care for people who use specialist mental health services. Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) The CHI is an independent body that inspects hospitals to ensure standards set by the Government are met.

Commissioning The process of identifying a community's social and/or health care needs and finding services to meet them.

Community care Care, particularly for older people, people with learning disabilities or a mental illness, which is provided outside a hospital setting.

Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) A team of health and social services professionals working together to provide services to those with a mental illness.

Co-morbidity Term used to signify multiple illness.



Day case admission Day case patients are admitted for care or treatment which can be completed in a few hours and does not require a hospital bed overnight

Delayed discharge rate The proportion of patients occupying a hospital bed who are ready for discharge. Demographic trends Changes in age, sex and size of the population over time.

Dental access centres Dental access centres provide a complete range of NHS dental services including routine as well as urgent care. People do not need to register to see a dentist in an access centre.

Department of Health The Government department responsible for delivering a fast, fair, convenient and high quality health and social care service in England



Elective admission A patient who is admitted from the waiting list.

Emergency admission A patient admitted to hospital at short notice because of clinical need or because alternative care is not available.


F Family health services (FHS) Services provided in the community through GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians. Finished consultant episode The time spent under the care of a particular consultant


G General Medical Services (GMS) Personal medical services provided by general medical practitioners, for example; giving appropriate health promotion advice; offering consultations and physical examinations; offering appropriate examinations and immunisations.

General practitioners (GPs) These are doctors who provide family health services to a local community. They are usually based in a surgery or GP practice and are often the first port of call for most patients with a concern about their health.

Geriatric Sometimes called Care of the Elderly.



Health Authority (HA) The Health Authority (HA) is responsible, within the resources available, for identifying the health care needs of its resident population, and securing hospital and community health services to reflect those needs.

Health Development Agency (HDA) The HDA is a special health authority that aims to improve the health of people in England - in particular, to reduce inequalities in health between those who are well off and those on low incomes or reliant on state benefits.

Health Promotion England (HPE) HPE was established in April 2000 following the closure of the

Health Education Authority. It develops and delivers public education campaigns and promotes healthy living.

Hospital at Home Hospital at Home provides care in the patient's home which otherwise would have been provided in hospital.

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) A database containing personal, medical and administrative details of all patients admitted to, and treated in, NHS hospitals in England for the purposes of statistical analysis. It is securely maintained to ensure confidentiality.



Improving health The White Paper 'Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation' was launched in July 1999 and sets out how the Government aims to improve the health of English people. Its priorities are the four major causes of avoidable ill-health and premature death. Each has a national target, to be achieved by 2010: In-patient A patient who is admitted to hospital as a day case or for a longer period of time.

Intergrated care pathway Improving the patient's route for treatment through different health and social care systems by combining resources and co-ordinating working methods to prevent hold-ups and jams.

Intermediate care Services that promote independence, prevent hospital admission and/or enable early discharge. Intermediate care typically provides community-based alternatives to traditional hospital care.



Length of stay The time from admission to discharge, based on the number of nights in hospital.



Medical advice Improvements which allow the medical profession to treat an increasing range of conditions, or treat existing conditions in a better way.

Multi-agency Services or activities which involve staff drawn from a range of organisations, such as statutory agencies (health, social services, education etc) and voluntary groups.



National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is a special health authority that promotes the best possible service and effective use of resources in the NHS It sets clear national standards to improve the quality and consistency of NHS services throughout the country.

National Service Frameworks (NSF) NSFs set national standards and define service models for different services or care groups.

NHS Direct A 24-hour nurse-led telephone helpline contactable through a single national number: 0845 4647. It provides health information and advice to callers with the aim of helping them look after themselves at home or if they need further professional help, directing them to the right service at the right time.

NHS Direct online NHS Direct online is the gateway to health advice and information on the internet. It includes an easy-to-use guide to treating common symptoms at home and links to thousands of sources of help and advice. www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

NHS Trusts NHS organisations which provide healthcare



Older age groups People aged 65 years and above. Ordinary admission An admission where the patient is expected to remain in hospital for at least one night. Includes emergencies.



Primary Care Groups (PCGs) PCGs bring together GP practices and other professional interests within a geographical area, and have a key role in the commissioning of services. There are different levels of PCG, up to Primary Care Trusts.

Personal Social Services (PSS) Personal care services for vulnerable people, including those with special needs because of old age or physical disability and children in need of care and protection. For instance, residential care homes for the elderly, home help and home care services, and social workers who provide help and support for a wide range of people.

Primary Health Care Team Professional staff working in or attached to general practices to provide a range of health care needs. Includes GPs and community nursing staff. Primary care General healthcare services provided by GPs and their staff, and social care services.



Secondary care Care typically provided in local hospitals usually on referral from primary care.

Spell Period from when a patient is admitted to when he or she leaves a particular hospital. Stakeholder Person or organisation with a direct interest in a service or practice.

Standardised hospital admissions Admissions standardised to take account of the different age/sex structures of local populations.

Statutory organisations Organisations with powers to fund or provide services, such as Local Authorities (Borough & County Councils), Health Authorities and NHS Trusts. Sub-acute Care An alternative term for intermediate care.



Tertiary care Care of a highly specialist nature typically provided in regional centres.



Whole systems approach Term for a strategic, integrated approach to planning and delivering services. A local whole system of care covers all local health and social service provision and any other service that impacts upon health and social care.






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