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Glossary of terms: NHS jargon



Services (usually in-patient) which treat patients for a certain condition for a short time.

Acute Rapid Onset

Severe symptoms and brief duration.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


A dictionary definition of ‘advocacy’ tells us that an advocate is:
Citizen advocacy: Means speaking up for someone else. Unpaid volunteers who try to represent the interests and concerns of their partner as if they were their own, but do not make decision for their partner. They must be independent of people providing care or services for their partner.
Legal advocacy: Possibly a solicitor or a barrister or an advice worker. They give advice so that people can speak up for themselves.
Collective advocacy: A group of people working together to speak out for what they want. Some organisations undertake collective advocacy - eg, MENCAP, Mind, Cambridgeshire Independent Advocacy Service, trade unions.
Peer advocacy: Help and support from people with a similar background or experience to your own.
Professional advocacy: Someone who is paid to provide support and advice, independent of any services used. They will have professional skills and knowledge and a good knowledge of local services.


Allied Health Professional

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which describes the loss of mental abilities, such as memory and reasoning.


Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and a mental health condition. People who have anorexia have problems with eating. They are very anxious about their weight. They keep it as low as possible, by strictly controlling and limiting what they eat.

Anti-psychotic drugs

Drugs used to treat psychosis, including schizophrenia and mania. They also have tranquillising effects reducing agitation.

Approved Mental Health Professional

Someone who has had specific training in the legal aspects of mental health assessment and treatment. AMPHs are approved by their local authority social services department to organise and carry out assessments under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).

Approved Social Workers (ASWs)

Social workers specifically approved and appointed under Section 114 of the Mental Health Act 1983 by a local social services authority ‘for the purposes of discharging the functions conferred upon them by this Act’. One of the most important is to carry out assessments under the Act and to function as applicant in cases where compulsory admission is deemed necessary. Before being appointed, social workers must undertake post-qualifying training approved by the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW).

Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC)

Members from all local statutory agencies working with children, with an independent chair who must ensure that all children are protected from significant harm, including responsibility for establishing good local policies and practices and ensuring they are adhered to.

Art therapy

Difficult feelings can often be more easily accessed through using imagination and creativity rather than thinking and talking. In art therapy sessions, you are encouraged to freely express your difficult thoughts and feelings using a variety of materials. This can help you to understand difficult feelings, and to change patterns of how you relate them to yourself, and to others. Music therapists, drama therapists and dance and movement therapists work in a similar way using other forms of expression.

Assertive outreach /assertive community treatment /intensive case management

Ensuring those most in need of specialist mental health care remain in touch with services.

Atypical (novel) antipsychotic drugs

Range of newer and more expensive antipsychotic drugs used in the treatment of psychosis, most commonly schizophrenia.


A continuous process of assessment, evaluation and adjustment

Audit Commission (AC)

Appoints and regulates the external auditors of statutory authorities, including the NHS. Role to promote proper stewardship of public finances and helping managers to achieve economy, effectiveness and efficiency.

Audit Committee

Trust’s own committee monitoring Trust’s performance, probity and accountability.


Undertake detailed examinations of all aspects of health care performance, including financial performance.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder is a behaviourally defined syndrome characterised by communication impairments, social interaction problems and unusual interest patterns and/or stereotyped behaviour. It occurs in about 1% of children and often gives rise to serious lifelong disabilities that cause considerable suffering and distress to individuals and their families.


Accident and Emergency



The continuous level of funding, year on year, before additional resources are taken into account.


British Association of Medical Managers.


British Continuity


British Medical Association.


Black and Ethnic Minorities.


Behind the Ear Hearing Aids


Caldicott Guardian

Each NHS organisation has a nominated ‘Caldicott Guardian’ responsible for ensuring the Trust complies with the Caldicott principles. These aim to ensure the protection of patient’s right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality.


Used as shorthand to describe Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. There are four different levels of services for children and adolescents with mental health problems - these are described as Tiers 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Care co-ordinator/key worker

The person who is responsible for making sure that your care is properly planned and you get the help you need. They will usually work with a community mental health team and will be the person you see most often. They will usually be a Community Psychiatric Nurse, social worker or occupational therapist.


Spending on land and premises and provision, adaptation, renewal, replacement or demolition of buildings, equipment and vehicles.

Care pathway

Patient’s journey through primary care, specialist and community services to discharge/continuing care.

Care plan

A plan for your care over the next few weeks or months. It should be written down and you should have a copy. If you think it is wrong, or something is missing, you can ask for it to be changed.

Care Programme Approach (CPA) / care management

The CPA provides a framework for care co-ordination. The main elements are a care co-ordinator, a written care plan, and at higher levels regular reviews by the multi-disciplinary team and integration with the care management system. Involves assessment of need, care planning and the organisation of care packages within available resources.

Care Quality Commission

The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. It regulates care provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations. It aims to make sure better care is provided for everyone - in hospitals, care homes and people's own homes. It also seeks to protect the interests of people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.


Contained Air Solutions - safety cabinets used to hold or contain micobiological samples.


A volume or list of patient referrals belonging to a healthcare professional. 


Relatives or friends who voluntarily look after individuals who are sick, disabled, vulnerable or frail.


Clinical Commissioning Groups are groups of General Practices that work together to plan and design local health services in England. They do this by 'commissioning' or buying health and care services.


Critical Care Outreach Team


Critical Care Unit


Clinical Decisions Unit


Clostridium Difficile - a type of bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system. 


Chief Executive Officer


The Trust’s chaplaincy service can help you to contact an appropriate representative of your faith. There are chapels at some of our sites that can be used for private prayer or religious services.

Choose and Book

Enabling patients to book appointments at point of referral with a choice of time and date

Clinical governance

How we make sure we carry out treatments safely and effectively and encourage a culture of excellence in our staff to continuously improve quality of care.

Clinical trial

A research study to answer specific questions about new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.


A term which is used to describe someone who provides care and treatment to patients, such as a nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

A 'talking treatment' which helps you to see how early relationships and experiences have affected how you see yourself, other people and how you behave. It usually takes about 16 weekly sessions and focuses on a problem that is important for you.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

A form of psychological therapy based on learning theory principles used mostly in depression but increasingly shown to be a useful part of the treatment for schizophrenia.


Identifying health needs of local people, planning and purchasing health services which respond to their needs. Primary Care Trusts are responsible for deciding what services their local residents need from the NHS and buy these services with public money from the most appropriate providers.

Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN)

The CQUIN payment framework enables commissioners to reward excellence, by linking a proportion of English healthcare providers' income to the achievement of local quality improvement goals.

Community care

A network of services provided by the NHS, social services and volunteers designed to keep people independent, and to support elderly people or people with mental health problems or learning disabilities who might previously have been in hospital.

Community mental health team

Multi-disciplinary team offering specialist assessment, treatment and care to people in their own homes and the community.

Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)

A nurse who has been trained to help people with mental health problems and who works in the community, instead of in a hospital.


The simultaneous presence of two or more disorders, often refers to combination of severe mental illness, substance misuse, learning disability and personality disorder. The term dual diagnosis or complex needs may also be used.

Complementary therapies

A wide range of treatments which can add something to conventional treatment - e.g., Reiki, Indian head massage, aromatherapy, dance and movement etc.

Consultant Psychiatrist

The medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders that has overall responsibility for your care. This includes your medication and other activities you may take part in whilst in hospital.


Patient contact details or contact times - eg, face-to-face meetings, first assessment. Or details of family or friends who may provide a point of reference in support of patient care. 


Coronary Heart Disease


Cost Improvement Programme

Corporate governance

The system by which organisations are directed and controlled. The principles of corporate governance are openness, integrity and accountability.


Continuing Professional Development


Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation


Commissioning for Quality and Innovation - a framework aiming to secure improvements in quality of services and better outcomes for patients, whilst also maintaining strong financial management. 


Central Resource Service

Crisis resolution/home treatment service (CRHT)

New models of care for people with severe and enduring mental illness




Drug and Alcohol Action Teams (multi-agency)


Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities.


When you're depressed, you may have feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, and can last for weeks or months, rather than days. Depression is quite common, and about 15% of people will have a bout of severe depression at some point in their lives.


District General Hospital


Department of Health

Diagnostic Tests

Tests which help determine the nature of a disorder or illness, for example x-rays, laboratory tests.


Drug Intervention Programme (multi-agency)


Loss of contact with services by the service user.


Did not attend. Used to indicate if a person did not attend a scheduled meeting, activity or engagement.


Do Not Attempt Resuscitation


Data quality.



Heart Tracing


Ear, Nose and Throat


Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

Equal opportunity

Aims to ensure the workforce is representative of the local community.


Enhanced Recovery Programme after Surgery


Electronic Staff Record


Education, Training and Development

Elective Surgery

An operation which is planned ahead and for which the patient will be given a date to be admitted to hospital.



First Definitive Treatment - the first clinical intervention intended to manage a service user's disease, condition or injury and avoid further clinical interventions. 


Finished Consultants Episode 


Freedom of Information

Forensic Service

Specialist health services for offenders with mental health problems.

Foundation Trust status

A new kind of public service organisation. Based on mutual traditions, they are established as ‘public benefit corporations’ with new freedoms to innovate and forge partnerships in the public interest and governance arrangements designed to help trusts better reflect the needs of the communities they serve.



General Dental Council

General Practitioner (GP)

Your local doctor - or family doctor - who will usually be the first person you see if you have a physical illness or emotional problem. They can help you directly but can also refer you on for specialist care or assessment. Many GPs have a community psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist or counsellor who works at the GP surgery.


General Medical Council


General Medical Services

Grade 3-4 pressure ulcers

Classification of pressure ulcer severity as defined by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence 


Health and Social Care (HASC) Scrutiny Committees

Local Authority scrutiny committees made up of councillors and members – responsible for reviewing local services. Specifically health overview and scrutiny committee reviews performance of local health services.


Health Care Commission


Health Development Agency


High Dependency Unit

Healthcare Associated Infections

These are infections that occur in a health care setting that were not present before the patient entered the care setting.

Healthcare professional

Generic identification of CPFT staff who are qualified to administer mental health or community health care services. 

Health of the Nation Outcome Score (HoNOS)

A way of measuring how well someone is doing in their treatment and recovery.

Health promotion

Giving people and communities the resources and information they need to make choices about their help and to make their environment safer.

Healthcare governance

How we make sure we carry out treatments safely and effectively and encourage a culture of excellence in our staff to continuously improve quality of care


Health Episode Statistics


Health Impact Assessment

Home treatment

Home treatment (sometimes called crisis resolution) is a way of helping people at home rather than in hospital. This can help to avoid the stress, anxiety and upheaval that can happen with a hospital admission. This can include daily or twice daily visits, and help with medication and sorting out practical matters such as accommodation and shopping.


Health Protection Agency


Health Service Circular (House of Commons) Health Select Committee


Health and Safety Executive



Information Commissioner


Independent Complaints Advocacy Service


Information, Communication and Technology.


Intensive Care Unit


Information Governance


Information Governance Toolkit - an online system that allows NHS organisations and partners to assess themselves against Department of Health information governance policies and standards. 

Improving Working Lives (IWL)

An NHS accolade recognising achievement of a set of national standards focusing on implementation of modern employment practices and providing staff with a flexible work/life balance. 


The number of people who get a particular illness or suffer a particular disability.


Someone who stays in hospital to receive care and treatment.

Independent sector

Voluntary sector, charitable and private care providers.

Intermediate care

Care provided as an alternative to in-patient carer. Also allows patients to be safely discharged from hospital and complete their recovery at home or other suitable place.

Investor in People (IIP)

Recognition of commitment to training with objectives and personal development plans for all staff.


Individual Performance Review


In the Ear hearing aids



Key Performance Indicator



Learning Authorities

Learning disabilities

If someone has a learning disability, it means that they may find it more difficult to learn, understand and communicate. Learning disabilities are not a "mental illness", but can be caused by many illness or problems before or during birth, or that develop during childhood or as the result of an illness.

Learning Disability Partnerships (LDPs)

Responsible for commissioning and providing health and social care services for all adults with a learning disability. The LDP Boards in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire were set up in 2001. They bring together a range of partners, including people with a learning disability and their family carers, with a responsibility for implementing the programme of developments from the White Paper Valuing People.


Local Medical Committee

Local Involvement Networks (LINks)

The aim of LINKs is to give people an opportunity to communicate their views about how their health and social care services are delivered. LINks are created and run by local people to monitor local services.

Local Strategic Partnerships

A single body bringing together at local level the different parts of the public sector, private, business, community and voluntary sectors to support each other and work together to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the local population.

Looked After Children (LAC)

Looked After Children are provided with somewhere to live by social services for more than 24 hours, as a result of a court order, or after agreement with their parents. Children become 'looked after' when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing, temporary or permanent, care.


Local Service Provider



Multi-Agency Public Protection (Panel) Arrangements


Medical Device Agency

Mental health

An individual’s ability to manage and cope with the stresses and challenges of life.

Mental Health Act 1983

Concerns the reception, care and treatment of mentally disordered persons, the management of their property and other related matters.

Mental Health Act Committee

This body ensures the compliance with the Mental Health Act 1983 throughout the Trust encompassing advice on policies and procedures.

Mental health organisations

Health and social care commissioners and providers of specialist mental health care, including independent sector providers.

Mental Health Minimum Data Set

The Mental Health Minimum Data Set (MHMDS) contains record-level data about the care of adults and older people using secondary mental health services. 


Mental Health Act Commission


Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency


Modernising Medical Careers


Mumbles, Measles, Rubella

Modern Matron

The Modern Matron role is a new nursing role that was announced in the NHS Plan. A Modern Matron is a skilled, clinically experienced nurse who is empowered to bring about improvements to the patient experience in inpatient settings. The Modern Matron role provides nursing and multi-disciplinary leadership to a ward or a small group of wards and will build on the strengths and good practice within inpatient nursing care. Modern Matrons will be visible, accessible and focused on improving the experience of service users.


Illness or disability


The independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics. 

Multi-disciplinary team

A team of health and social care staff. It includes professionals such as nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists and benefits workers. It can also include service users and non-professionals in certain jobs.


Named nurse

The nurse with special responsibility for you when you are in hospital. He/she will work closely with you and your consultant to design your care plan and review its progress. Also known as a primary nurse.


National Audit Office


Non-Executive Director

Never event

Never events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented. 


Nations Health Service


NHS Connecting for Health


NHS Litigation Authority


New-born Hearing Screening Programme

NHS Trusts

Provide most NHS services, through annual agreements with Primary Care Trusts.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

NICE is responsible for promoting clinical excellence and cost-effectiveness and producing and issuing clinical guidelines to ensure that every NHS patient gets fair access to quality treatment.


Nursing and Midwifery Council


Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital


Norfolk Provider Partnership

National Service Frameworks (NSFs)

Bring together the best clinical and cost-effective evidence to determine the best ways of providing particular services. They set national standards and define service models for a specific service or care group, support implementation of the standards and establish timescales for development.


National Vocational Qualifications


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental health condition that is usually associated with both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.

Occupational Therapist (OT)

The person who will work with you to develop your skills and confidence in everyday life - including work, social and leisure activities and personal care.




Overview and Scrutiny Committee


Provided on an appointment basis without the need to be admitted to or stay in hospital e.g. assess need for further treatment, follow up appointment after a period of treatment.

Overview and Scrutiny of the Health Service Committee

This local authority council covers the review and scrutiny of any matter relating to the planning, provision and operation of the health services in Cambridgeshire.




Picture archiving and communications system

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Complementary to existing services, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) provides service users, their carers and families with help, information and support to resolve concerns quickly and efficiently. Every NHS organisation will have a PALS to support patients and the public.

Patient Centre

Patient Administration System

Patient Environment Action Teams (PEAT)

These teams are part of a national programme to assess and improve cleanliness, safety, privacy and dignity of inpatient care areas within NHS services. All Trusts are assessed and scored by these teams as part of an annual programme. These scores form part of the performance framework for Trusts. Services that pass at a certain level can move on to environmental self-assessment.

Payment by Results (PbR)

Payment by Results (PbR) provides a transparent, rules-based system for paying trusts. It will reward efficiency, support patient choice and diversity and encourage activity for sustainable waiting time reductions. Payment will be linked to activity and adjusted for casemix. 

Personality disorder

Covers a variety of clinically significant conditions and behaviour patterns which tend to be persistent from childhood or adolescence. May co-exist with other mental disorders.


Someone who has expert knowledge of the use of medicines. They work closely with doctors and nurses and advise them on the safe and effective use of drugs. They are responsible for supplying medication and making sure it is available in the right form.


A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear, for example a fear of heights or animals. Phobias are estimated to affect 1 in 40 adults a year.


Performance indicator. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you have experienced a traumatic event, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the days, weeks or months after the incident. Although such events can be very difficult to come to terms with, confronting your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD.

Post-natal depression

The birth of a baby is an emotional experience and, for many new mothers, feeling tearful and depressed is also common. However, sometimes longer periods of depression, known as postnatal depression (PND), can occur during the first few weeks and months of the baby's life. PND can have a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, but it can be treated.

Primary care

Care provided through CCGs.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

A government-led programme to enable the private sector to become involved in the provision of facilities which will then be run by the NHS


Public Health Observatory


Project Initiation Document


Public Relations

Providers and providing

Hospital trusts, GPs, voluntary organisations and sometimes private institutions that provide the health according to contract with the Strategic Health Authority or Primary Care Trust


A medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders. He or she has overall responsibility for your care. This includes any medication you may take, and any activities you may be involved in whilst in hospital, or in the community.


Someone who has done a psychology degree, then further training in helping people with emotional or psychological problems. Psychologists can offer you therapy which involves talking about your difficulties and working together to overcome them. They are different from psychiatrists in that they are not medically trained and do not prescribe medication.

Psychological therapies

Talking therapies, including psychotherapy, counselling, family therapy and cognitive-behaviour therapy.


Disorders involving distorted perceptions of reality - thinking, feeling, hearing and seeing - often with symptoms of hallucinations and delusions.


Someone who has trained to carry out one or more of the psychotherapies. They can be from any professional background - or none. They should be registered with a professional psychotherapy organisation in the UK.

Psychotropic drugs

Medication used in the treatment of mental disorder.



Quality Assurance


Question and Answer


Quality Improvement Group



Rheumatoid Arthritis


Royal College of Nursing


Research and Development


Race Equality Scheme


Patient referrals provided to CPFT from an external source - eg, doctors' surgery, another Trust or hospital, police, army or other medical service agency. 

Regional Secure Units (RSUs)

Medium-secure units for people who are thought to pose special risks, particularly violence to others.

Risk management

Risk management places special emphasis on identifying circumstances which put users, carers and staff at risk of harm and then acting to prevent or control those risks. This helps us to improve the quality of care we provide.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

Systematic process to analyse the causes of incidents, learn from them and where possible reduce the risk of recurrence.


Referral to treatment. Time taken for a patient to be refered to an appropriate CPFT service.


Schedule 5

Coroners and Justice Act 2009 - coroner powers.  

Secondary care

Health care provided in hospital setting.


Self-harm is when somebody damages or injures their body on purpose. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) describes it as 'self-poisoning, or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act'.

Serious incident (SI)

A serious incident is defined by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) as an incident that occurred in relation to NHS-funded services and care resulting in one of the following: unexpected or avoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public; serious harm to one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public; a scenario that prevents or threatens to prevent the Trust's ability to continue to deliver healthcare services; allegations of abuse; adverse media coverage or public concern about the Trust or the wider NHS.

Service user/s

People who need health and social care for their mental health problems. They may live in their own home, stay in care, or be cared for in hospital.


Senior House Offcier


Situation Report compiled to describe the detail surrounding a situation, event, or incident. 

Social care

Personal care for vulnerable people, including people with special needs which stem from their age, physical or mental disability and children who need care and protection.

Social care package

A combination of services put together to meet a person's needs as part of a care plan arising from an assessment or review. 

Social worker

A professional who can help you with practical aspects of life, and who will often also have had training in psychological help. They work closely together with other organisations that are also able to provide you with help.


All parties within and interest in the organisation, services, etc.


Sustainability and Transformation Plan


Talking therapy / treatment

A general term for treatments which involve talking in individual or group sessions with a trained mental health professional.

Teaching Trust

Strengthens the Trust’s links with higher education institutions. Trust receives extra funding to support the teaching of psychological medicine to doctors from the Cambridge University School. The Teaching ethos influences all staff groups and education programmes.

Tertiary care

Specialist care, usually for less common illnesses.


Termination of Pregnancy


Internal referral - transfer of a patient from one QEH service to another QEH service.  

External referral – transfer of a patient from QEH to another healthcare provider.

‘Two ticks’

An award recognising employers’ innovative work on disability and implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.



Value for Money

Voluntary Sector

See Independent Sector above


Ward manager

The senior nurse in charge of running a hospital ward.


Waiting times endured by a patient for a service to be provided or allocated. 


World Health Organisation

White Paper

Government document which outlines the way policy and services will operate in the future.


Working-time directive


Whole-time equivalent - measure of NHS staff resourcing or allocation 

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