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Jargon Buster

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Sometimes shortened to these initialsWhat this means

Acute Services Medical and surgical treatment provided mainly in hospitals.
All Together BetterATBAll Together Better (ATB) is an alliance of commissioners and providers working together across organisational boundaries to better join up health and care services and improve health outcomes for people living in Sunderland.  Visit the ATB website.
Ambulatory Care Services where people do not stay in hospital overnight, for example, outpatients, X-ray, day surgery and medical diagnostics.

 Considering the circumstances of an individual, family, group or community when looking at a future plan of action.

Befriending Befriending offers supportive, reliable relationships, often through volunteer befrienders to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

 A method used to guage performance by comparing it to that of other organisations, typically of similar size. Many organisations are now members of so called 'benchmarking clubs', for example, CHKS, Dr Foster.

Care Pathway An approach to managing a specific disease or clinical condition that identifies early on what treatments and care are required, along with the possible outcome.
Care Quality Commission


Body established from 1 April 2009, which replaced the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission.  Visit the CQC website

Carer The definition used by social services is: a person who provides a substantial amount of care on a regular basis, and who is not employed to do so by an agency or organisation. A carer is usually a friend or relative looking after someone who is frail or ill at home.
Choose and Book The electronic referral system that allows GPs to refer patients electronically to acute service providers. Implemented in an indirect mode (known as Indirect Booking System or IBS), patients ring through to make an appointment from a choice of at least four providers while their referral is received electronically. Implemented in a Direct mode (known as Direct Booking System or DBS), patients can book directly into the appropriate Oupatient clinic.
Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)CCGNew health commissioning organisations replaced Primary Care Trusts in April 2013. Commissioning organisations are responsible for planning and buying of healthcare across a defined geographical area to meet the needs of the local population.  In Sunderland there is one CCG.  Visit the CCG website 

Clinical Team A clinical team may comprise of doctors, nurses and other health staff who provide care to patients and services of a particular type, for example, cancer services.
Clinician A health professional who is directly involved in the care and treatment of patients, for example, nurses, doctors, therapists.
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Foundation TrustCNTW

One of the largest mental health and disability trusts in England. They provide mental health, learning disability and neurological care for people across the north of England as well as some national specialist services.

Commissioning The process by which the needs of the local population are identified, priorities set and appropriate services purchased and evaluated. From April 2013, this will be led by CCGs
Community Care Care, particularly for older people, people with learning disabilities or mental illness, which is provided outside a hospital setting.
Co-morbidity Term used to signify multiple illnesses.
Coronory Care Unit Dedicated unit for specialist coronary (heart) care.
CT SCANNER - Computerised Tomography Scanner CT Scanner

A scanner that produces detailed cross-section images of the body that cannot be provided, using conventional x-rays.

CTG - Cardiotocography


An electronic system that monitors fetal heart rate during labour.

Day Care Admission Day case patients are admitted for care or treatment which can be completed in a few hours and does not required a hospital bed overnight.
Delayed Transfer of Care Patients occupying a hospital bed who are ready for discharge, but awaiting other services, etc. before they can be discharged.

 Tests to help clinical staff reach a diagnosis, for example, pathology tests or x-rays.

Elective Admission A patient who is admitted from the waiting list, sometimes also called planned care.
Electronic Booking A new system under development that will allow patients to make appointments directly and be able to obtain information on waiting times.
Electronic Patient Record The electronic version of the medical record, linking clinical documentation, test and examination results, and details of patient encounters, available to clinicians instantly at different locations.
Emergency Admission A patient admitted to hospital at short notice because of clinical need or because alternative care is not available.
Emergency DepartmentEDThe department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medical and surgical care to patients arriving at the hospital in need of immediate care. 
Enter and View


Enter and view is used by Healthwatch as a means of gathering evidence of patient and service user experience in the preparation of reports.

Enter and view uses selected, trained, DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service – previously known as CRB) checked staff and volunteers to observe the provision of health and social care services locally. This involves talking to patients, service users and carers directly to ask questions about the care they are receiving, so that a report for service providers can be produced based on this feedback.

Visits take place on any premises where publically funded health and or social care services to adults are being provided.

Facilities Management Effective management of the buildings and infrastructure of an organisation, to provide an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organisation.
Family Health Services Services provided in the community through GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians.
Fertility Fertility is the natural ability to produce a child.
Foundation Trust


Autonomous NHS organisations responsible for managing their services, free from central Government control. They decide how to improve their services and can retain any surpluses they generate or borrow money to support these investments. They establish strong connections with their local communities; local people can become members and governors. All trusts must be FTs by 2014.

General PractitionersGPsDoctors 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.
General Surgery

 General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents including esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland. They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, and hernias.

Health Protection AgencyHPA

Independent body that protects the health and well-being of the population. The Agency plays a critical role in protecting people from infectious diseases and in preventing harm when hazards involving chemicals, poisons or radiation occur. More at www.hpa.org.uk From April 2013, the HPA will become part of Public Health England.
Health and Wellbeing Boards Forums for key leaders from health and social care to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and reduce health inequalities.

High Dependency Unit

 Area for patients who require more intensive observation, treatment and nursing care than a general ward, but do not need to have full intensive care, called level 2 care.

In-patient A patient who has been admitted to hospital for treatment and is occupying a hospital bed.
Integrated 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.
Intensive Care (Treatment) Unit Dedicated unit for intensive care of patients (level 3 care).

Intermediate Care

 Nursing home, rehabilitation or home care services provided to ease the transition of the patient from hospital to home and from medical dependence to functional independence.

Learning Disability

 Affects the way a person understands information and how they communicate. This means they can have difficulty: understanding new or complex information; learning new skills; coping independently; Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability. It's thought up to 350,000 people have a severe learning disability.

Mammography A special x-ray examination of breast tissue used in the early detection of breast cancer.
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency The government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. The MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health. More at www.mhra.gov.uk

Monitor Foundation Trust and sector regulator for health care and responsible for regulating all providers of NHS-funded care.
MRI Scanner - Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner A scanner that produces images of parts of the body by the use of a strong magnetic field and electromagnetic waves.

MRSA Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - an infection that is resistant to most common antibiotics. MRSA bacteraemia means that patients have MRSA in their bloodstream, which can be life-threatening.
Multi Disciplinary Team


This is a team of professionals drawn from various disciplines within the Trust that combine their expertise to the benefit of patients.

Never Event An event considered unacceptable and eminently preventable. A never event must be declared to the strategic Health Authority and investigated.
NHS Direct

 This is a telephone helpline and website that gives access to a 24-hour nurse advice and health information service, providing confidential information service, providing confidential information on: what to do if you or your family are feeling ill; particular health conditions; local healthcare services, such as doctors, dentists or late-night opening pharmacies, and self-help and support organisations. More at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
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. Visit the NHS Direct website 

NHS Number This is a unique number that will be given to every baby at birth and will be used as a NHS identifier for life.

NICE - National Institute for Health and Care ExcellenceNICE

Body set up in April 1999 to decide which health treatments and technologies - from drugs to artificial hips - should be available on the NHS.  
Visit the NICE website

Non-Executive Directors Lay people appointed by the Appointments Commission who sit on the Trust board with the EDs, overseeing the work of the organisation.

 Also known as winter vomiting virus or Norwalk virus. It is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales. It is present all year round, but peaks in the winter months. Oubreaks are common in semi-closed environments, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships.
Nursing Home A residential home that has qualified nursing staff available to provide nursing care.
Out-patient A patient who attends hospital for treatment, consultation and advice, but does not require a stay in hospital.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 An all-party group of elected local councillors that reviews local NHS services and other issues. Introduced by The Local Government Act 2000.

Palliative Care

 The care of patients whose disease is now life-limiting and is no longer curable, for example, cancer, HIV/Aids, and motor-neurone disease. It takes into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of care of patients, with the aim of providing the best quality of life and the best death for them.
PALS - Patient Advice and Liaison ServicePALS

PALS provide advice and support to patients, friends and carers, as well as resolving problems and giving information about NHS. There is a PALS service on both hospital sites.

Patient Transport ServicePTS

The PTS transports patients with non-urgent conditions to and from hospitals and day care centres, and carries out non-urgent inter-hospital transfers. Patients must meet medical and other criteria to qualify for this service.

Personal Social Services

 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, which are provided through home care and home help services, social workers and residential care homes.
Primary Health Care Team Professional staff who are working in or attached to general practices to provide a range of health care needs. Includes GPs and community nursing staff.
Public Health England

 A new public health body that will be the expert voice for public health, to be established as an executive agency of the DH in April 2013.

Royal Colleges

 Statutory organisations that set and monitor professional standards for clinical services.

Secondary Care Specialist care, typically provided in a hospital setting or following referral from primary or community health professional.
Service User An individual who uses, requests, applies for, or benefits from health or local authority services. They may also be referred to as a client, patient or consumer.
Social Prescribing

 Social prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services which might be run by the council or a local charity. For example, signposting people who have been diagnosed with dementia to local dementia support groups.

South Tyneside & Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust


On 1 April 2019, following the merger of City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust they became South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (STSFT).  Together, their new Trust provides acute hospital and community based healthcare services to a population of around 430,000 people in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust have a full list of hospital services on their website which you can access here

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

 These are provided by 'allied health professionals' who include dieticians, hearing therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists (chiropodists) and speech & language therapists.

Urgent Care

 Urgent care means ‘when you suddenly become unwell and need to see a healthcare professional the same day but is not an emergency’. This includes urgent care for both mental and physical health.  Read more from Sunderland Clinical commissioning group

 Relating to the vessels of the body, especially the arteries and veins, that carry blood and lymph.


 Policy in place to enable staff to raise concerns about possible malpractice within the Trust.

 X-ray Painless test which produces images of structures in body, especially bones using high energy electromagnetic waves.



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