The NHS 111 service is a free-to-call, non-emergency medical helpline, available 24 hours a day, to be used for health information, advice and access to urgent care
The health sector can sometimes use jargon. We have developed this glossary to explain these terms in more detail. You'll also find the glossary items throughout the site where they have been used.
The NHS 111 service is a free-to-call, non-emergency medical helpline, available 24 hours a day, to be used for health information, advice and access to urgent care
Accident and emergency
Created by NHS England to work with local health and care systems to select, encourage, develop and deliver innovative solutions that improve patient care and aid economic growth across our region.
Health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or recovery from surgery.
First point of entry into hospital for patients who have been referred as emergencies by their GP or who require admission from the A&E department.
Adult social care is supporting older people or those adults living with disability or physical or mental illness, to live independently and stay safe and well, generally in their own homes.
The role includes assessing the patient, making differential diagnosis and ordering relevant investigations, providing treatment (including prescribing) and admitting/discharging patients.
The main pay system for staff in the NHS, except doctors, dentists and senior managers. Abbreviated to AfC and also known as NHS terms and Conditions of Service.
AHPS is an umbrella term for therapists, chiropodists, dietitians, occupational therapists, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, prosthetists, psychologists, radiographers, and speech and language therapists among others.
Looking at what resources there are locally to help people improve their health and care. Using people’s skills, listening to what they need and looking at what’s available to help them. Involving people in identifying what will help to improve their health and wellbeing.
Black, Asian and minority ethnic.
Policy to improve maternity provision and services.
A local single pooled budget to incentivise the NHS and local government to work more closely together around people, placing their wellbeing as the focus of health and care services, and shifting resources into social care and community services for the benefit of the people, communities and health and care systems.
A business continuity plan is a documented strategy that outlines how an organisation will continue its critical operations and services in the event of disruptions, technology failures, or other emergencies. This is focused on minimising downtime and maintain business operations to limit the potential impact issues may have.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The care and treatment a patient receives from start to finish for a particular illness or condition. This usually includes several parts of the health service and social care. For example, a care pathway can involve support from a GP, a specialist doctor, home care and a district nurse.
The body which regulates health and care services in England to ensure they are safe, effective, compassionate and well led.
A CCIO is a senior executive within an organisation responsible for providing clinical context and leadership in information technology (IT) strategy, systems, and operations.
A CIO is a high-ranking executive in an organisation responsible for overseeing the management and strategic use of information technology (IT).
Community interest company with the objective of benefitting society rather than financial gain.
Clinically-led statutory NHS body responsible for the planning and commission of health care services for their local area.
Co-morbidity is the simultaneous presence if two or more health conditions or diseases in the same patient.
Co-production is when an individual influences the support and services received, or when groups of people get together to influence the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered. Fundamentally, co-production recognises that people who use services (and their families) have knowledge and experience that can be used to improve services. The Social Care Institute for Excellence describes co-production as “people who use services and carers working in equal partnerships with professionals toward shared goals.”
The process of planning, agreeing and monitoring services. Commissioning of health services can take place at the local level by CCGs, or at a nation-wide level by NHS England. Local authorities also commission social care.
Community health services provide a wide range of care, from supporting patients to manage long-term conditions, to treating those who are seriously ill with complex conditions. Most community healthcare takes place in people’s homes. Teams of nurses and therapists coordinate care, working with professions including GPs and social care.
Public bodies have a duty to consult people when changing commissioned services. The decision to consult is usually triggered when there is a legal requirement to do so and this depends upon the level of service change.
NHS continuing healthcare is health and social care outside of hospital that is arranged and funded by the NHS. It is available for people who need ongoing healthcare and is sometimes called fully funded NHS care.
Whether a patient goes to a doctor, the hospital or has care within their home, it’s important that the same standard of care is experienced, and all the organisations involved in that care know what is happening. A patient’s care experience should be positive.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Director of Adult Social Services.
Data integration is the process of combining information from different sources or systems into a unified and coherent view, allowing for comprehensive analysis, reporting, and decision-making.
Data migration is the process of transferring or moving data from one location, format, or system to another, typically with the goal of upgrading, consolidating, or reorganising data while preserving its integrity and usability.
Deployment in a technical context means the process of making software or systems operational in an environment for end-users to use.
Lack of basic resources considered necessary for wellbeing.
The government’s Department of Health and Social Care.
Short term funded support to enable discharge from hospital, whilst still requiring some level of care.
A domiciliary care worker is someone who visits a person’s home to help them with a general household tasks, personal care or any other activity that allows them to maintain their independence and quality of life at home.
Director of Public Health.
Treatment that is scheduled in advance as it does not involve a medical emergency.
The EPR is a method of storing medical records and notes electronically rather than in bound paper bundles, thus allowing the effective accessing and sharing of data.
These systems allow staff to view, manage, and contribute to a person's digital health or care record.
A person or system that makes something possible. In the NHS enablers are the systems and the processes that help achieve change and improvement.
Care provided in the last months or weeks of life to provide relief and support prior to death.
A term to commonly associated with many forms of patient, service, user or public involvement. It describes processes, both formal and informal, through which commissioners may invite local communities to become involved in discussion about the shape of their local services.
A process designed to ensure that a policy, project or scheme does not discriminate against disadvantaged or vulnerable people.
Supports the delivery of the system’s overall strategy and vision for estates.
The faecal immunochemical test (FIT) is an improved screening test that detects hidden traces of blood that could indicate bowel cancer or pre-cancerous growths known as polyps.
A collection of symptoms including weakness as a result of being older.
A full business case is a comprehensive document that outlines the justification, benefits, costs, risks, and potential outcomes of a proposed business project or initiative.
The GMC works to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.
The GMS contact is the contract between general practices and the NHS for delivering primary care services to local communities. It is a nationally negotiated contract and that sets out the core range of services provided by family doctors (GPs), their staff and a national tariff.
An internationally recognised NHS provider delivering improvements in care quality through world-class digital technologies and information.
The way that organisations ensure they run themselves efficiently and effectively, and the way organisations are open and accountable to the people they serve for the work they do.
The bill is currently going through parliament and lays out the ways that the health and care services need to change to work better in the future. If it is approved by parliament and then given Royal Assent it will become law, becoming the Health and Care Act (2022), and will create the constituent parts of integrated care systems - integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships - from July 2022. It was developed because there was a recognised need in the NHS that things need to change.
A statutory formal committee of the local authority that promotes greater integration and partnership between bodies from the NHS, public health and local government. It produces a joint strategic needs assessment and a joint health and wellbeing strategy for their local population.
Health Education England is an executive non-departmental public body which provides national leadership and coordinates education and training within the health and public health workforce within England.
Differences in health status between different population groups, or in the personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health status.
A range of global standards for the transfer of clinical and administrative health data between applications.
Reviews and scrutinises matters relating to the planning, provision and operation of local health services. A joint Health Scrutiny Committee oversees matters that span the Mid & South Essex Health and Care Partnership.
These are campaigns to help improve everyone’s health and reduce health inequalities. Health promotion aims to help people take control of their own health and make it better, examples include breastfeeding support, exercise programmes and nutrition help.
Local organisations which listen to the needs, experiences, and concerns of people who use health and social care services to make sure that service commissioners and providers put people at the heart of care. Healthwatch Thurrock, Healthwatch Southend and Healthwatch Essex work across mid and south Essex.
Implementation refers to the process of putting a plan, idea, or concept into action or practice, often with the goal of turning it into a tangible product, system, or solution. It's the practical execution of a planned solution.
A service providing evidence-based treatments for people with anxiety and depression.
An IG framework is a set of guidelines, policies, and practices that an organisation follows to manage and protect its information effectively. It outlines how information is handled, stored, and shared to ensure data security, compliance with regulations, and privacy.
Resident attending hospital who is required to stay in overnight or more to receive treatment or care.
Traditionally, some health and care organisations have tended to work independently, but patients often have lots of different needs. Integrated care is a way of getting health and care organisations including hospitals, GPs, councils and voluntary organisations, to work together in a way that helps patients. It has been happening successfully in some areas for a long time, but the health and care bill makes it official.
The integrated care board holds responsibility for planning NHS services, including those previously planned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). As well as a chairs and chief executives, membership of the board includes ‘partner’ members drawn from local authorities, NHS trusts/foundation trusts and primary care. The ICB should ensure that services are in place to deliver the integrated care strategy developed by the integrated care partnership. ICBs will be created as statutory organisations, including a governing board, from July 2022.
A partnership of NHS organisations, local councils, the voluntary sector and others in a geographical area, who take collective responsibility for managing resources, standards, and improving the health of the population they serve.
Interoperability is he ability of different systems, devices, or software applications to work together and exchange information in a seamless and effective manner.
Health and care services working together to better support a patient, making sure that everyone involved in a patient’s care, from their GP to their nurse, from the hospital to their care worker, knows and understands the patient’s needs and what care they are receiving.
This looks at the current and future health and care needs of local populations to inform and guide the planning and social care services within a local authority area.
National programme to support local areas to review the deaths of people with learning disabilities, identify learning from those deaths, and take forward the learning into service improvement initiatives.
The time a patient will spend in hospital.
Generally, this is just another word for a local council, but it can refer to any administrative organisation in local government.
Represents the interests of NHS general practitioners in a defined location.
Represents the interests of NHS pharmacists in a defined location.
Support Health and Care Partnerships across a broad range workforce and HR activity, and the local delivery of the Health Education England Mandate and other key workforce priorities in line with national policies.
A condition that cannot be cured; but can be controlled by medication and other therapies such as diabetes.
An imaging technique that uses powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to provide detailed cross-sectional or three-dimensional images of the body.
In short, MVS is a basic version of a software or technology solution that effectively tackles a fundamental problem or requirement. It's designed to be more quickly developed and deployed, allowing for user testing and feedback with essential features to meet the immediate needs.
A model of care is the overarching design for the provision of a particular type of health care service that is shaped by a theoretical basis, evidence-based practice and defined standards which broadly define the way health services are delivered.
Mortality rate, or death rate, is the rate of actual deaths to expected deaths.
A team of professionals from one or more disciplines, which can include social care as well as health, who together make decisions regarding recommended treatment of individual patients. Such terms may be be organised for a specific condition, e.g., cancer, or in a specific setting, e.g., a hospital.
An app helps people with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to better manage their condition.
An app that helps people with diabetes to better manage their condition.
Evidence-based guidance for clinicians, commissioners and providers of health and care.
Integrated care across a range of services around populations of between 30,000 and 50,000. These services typically include general practices, community teams, some mental health services and adult social care.
This is part of the new integrated way of working and will see primary care services working together as part of their neighbourhood – see above.
Sets the priorities and direction of the NHS in England, and encourages and informs the national debate to improve health and care. It commissions some NHS services directly, and delegates authority to CCGS to commission other services.
The plan for the transformation of NHS services in England over the next 10 years, to improve quality of care and the health outcomes of the population.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council. A regulatory body that maintains a register of nurses, midwives and health visitors.
A form of care that is available outside of major hospitals, often referred to as primary and community care. ‘Primary care’ is the advice and treatment you receive from your local GP.
The result of treatment, surgery or support from health and care services.
An outline business case is a basic document that briefly presents the key reasons and potential benefits of a proposed business project or initiative, offering a high-level overview to help decision-makers determine whether to proceed with a more detailed analysis and planning.
Resident attending a planned hospital appointment for treatment or care but not staying overnight.
An output-based specification is a document that defines the desired results, outcomes, or performance criteria that a product, service, or project should achieve, rather than specifying the detailed methods or processes to achieve them.
A PAS performs the recording of non-clinical patient details, such as name, date of birth, and home address. PAS also contains information on admissions, appointment, referrals etc.
A patient pathway is the route that a patient will take from their first contact with an NHS member of staff (usually their GP), through referral, to the completion of their treatment. It also covers the period from entry into a hospital or a treatment centre until the patient leaves.
Status immediately following the birth of a child.
An amount of money to support the identified healthcare and wellbeing needs of an individual, which is planned and agreed between the individual, or their representative, and the local clinical commissioner. It is a different way of spending health funding to meet the needs of an individual, and gives the individual greater choice and control over their care.
Shifting the culture and practice of care so that services are better coordinated and centred around the individual.
Public Health England.
This is the next level within the new integrated care systems and sits above neighbourhood. A place will usually include around 250 to 500,000 people (although this will vary) and will be made up of place-based partnerships between the council-run health and wellbeing boards and all the health and care organisations that sit within that place area, such as the hospitals, care providers and voluntary groups and. Each place will look at the health needs of the population it covers, and make sure those needs are met locally.
This is the new way of working set out as part of integrated care systems. It involves bringing together all the health and care organisations that sit within that place area, such as the hospitals, councils, care providers and voluntary groups, to work together as local partners. Their knowledge of the local people's needs means all these organisations can work together to make sure health and care services meet the needs of the people who live there.
Collection and analysis of data on patients and the public, to help improve planning and management of health and care services in the local system.
Stage of pregnancy before giving birth of a child.
Prevention involves working to improve people’s lifestyles to try to prevent ill health from happening in the future. For example, stop-smoking campaigns to prevent cancer cases, or weight management programmes to prevent obesity-related problems.
Primarily GP practices, but also includes community pharmacists, dentists and opticians.
Groups of GP practices working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas.
This is the system the NHS uses to buy the goods and services it needs to run properly, such as bandages, hospital beds and cleaning services. It makes sure the money is being spent effectively.
A proof of concept is a small-scale project or prototype designed to validate the feasibility, functionality, or viability of a particular concept, technology, or idea.
Provider collaboratives are provider organisations working together as part of the new integrated care system, to make sure they are delivering care in the best way possible for the people who live in their area. Providers often deliver similar services, so it makes sense for them to work together to ensure they aren’t both doing the same thing. For example, they could work together to provide a joint cancer service. This can make it easier for patients and can save money. Provider collaboratives can vary in the depth of integration, from a loose collaboration of healthcare providers who meet regularly to plan services in a joined-up way, to a more formal integration of legal governance.
Acute, ambulance, community and mental health services that treat patients and service users in the NHS; social care providers including local authorities, care homes and home care organisations; and community and voluntary organisations.
Public health is concerned with improving the health of the population rather than treating the diseases of individual patients.
Indicators of the overall achievement of a GP practice through a points system. Practices aim to deliver high quality care across a range of areas for which they score points.
Transformation programme for the NHS, involving all NHS staff, clinicians, and the voluntary sector aimed at improving the quality of care.
Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method of managing access to computer systems or data where permissions ae assigned based on the roles or responsibilities of users. Users are grouped into roles, and each role is granted specific access privileges, simplifying access management, and ensuring that individuals can only perform actions relevant to their roles.
Services to maximise people’s long-term independence, choice and quality of life, while at the same time attempting to minimise the need for ongoing support.
Changing the arrangement, structure or model of organisations or services.
The framework for referral to treatment consultant led waiting times to ensure that each patient’s waiting time clock starts and stops fairly and consistently.
Residential care refers to long-term care provided to adults or children in a residential setting rather than their own homes. Some residential settings are designed to meet a specific care need e.g.- those living with dementia or a terminal illness.
NHS programme to improve spend and outcomes in care, by diagnosing the issues and using evidence to identify opportunities for improvement developing solutions and delivering improvements for patients, populations and systems.
Identifying patients who are at high risk of an adverse event so that they can be offered preventive care and support to avoid health problems.
Either planned (elective) care such as surgery or an operation, or urgent and emergency care provided by a hospital.
All the actions taken by people to recognise, treat and manage their own health, either independently or in partnership with the healthcare system.
A shared care record is a safe and secure way of bringing together separate records from different health and care organisations together digitally in one place. It joins up information based on the individual rather than one organisation.
Single sign-on is a method of authentication and authorisation that allows a user to access multiple applications or services with a single set of login credentials (such as username and password).
Provide workforce solutions designed to improve healthcare, raise quality and improve productivity and financial performance. Skills for Health is a not-for-profit organisation for the whole of the UK health sector.
A measure of the difference in life expectancy between the most and least deprived sections of the local population.
Social care is the provision of social work, personal care, protection or social support services to children or adults in need or at risk, or adults with needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.
Social prescribing is a means of referring patients to a range of local, non-clinical services which are typically planned and delivered by voluntary and community sector organisations.
Spine supports the IT infrastructure for health and social care in England, joining together over 44,000 healthcare IT systems in 26,000 organisations. It allows information to be shared securely through national NHS services such as the Electronic Prescription Service, that Personal Demographics Service, that Summary Care Record and the e-Referral Service.
Stakeholder engagement is process by which an organisation learns about perceptions, issues and expectations of its stakeholders and uses these views to assist in managing, supporting, or influencing any planned changes/improvements in service delivery.
Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organisations that have an interest or concern in a particular project, organisation, or decision. They can be directly or indirectly affected by the outcomes or activities related to that project or entity.
Stakeholders may include employees, customers, investors, government agencies, community members.
These are legal requirements that all health and care organisations need to meet. For example, there is a statutory requirement for all ICSs to have an integrated care board in place from July 2022.
These are responsibilities that have been laid down in law and must be carried out by a health or care organisation. For example, from July 2022 all ICSs will have a statutory responsibility to deliver health and care services in their area.
This is the principle that decisions should be made as close to a local level as possible, rather than made at the top and then followed.
Summary Care Record (SCR) is a national database that holds electronic records or important patient information such as current medication, allergies, and details or any previous bad reactions to medicines, created from GP medical records.
Created in 2016, to bring local health and care leaders together to plan around the long-term needs of local communities. England is divided into 44 Health and Care Partnerships, including our area, mid and south Essex.
Unified health and care commissioners and providers operating to deliver what cannot be achieved in neighbourhoods and places, to improve and transform care, to provide oversight and accountability at ICS level.
System integration means connecting different software and hardware systems to work together smoothly, share information, and function as a coordinated whole. It's like making various pieces of a puzzle fit together to create a complete picture, enabling data and processes to flow seamlessly between different parts of a system or between multiple system.
System working is the description used for how integrated care systems will be working from July 2022. It’s about health and care services working together in a particular area, to make things work better for patients.
Trauma and orthopaedic. Covers injuries and conditions relating to bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.
Terms of reference (ToR) is a formal document that outlines the objectives, scope, responsibilities, and expectations for a project, task, or committee.
Treatment given in a regional hospital that provides highly specialised care, for example in cardiac surgery or cancer care.
The third sector encompasses the full range of non-public, not-for-profit organisations that are non-governmental and ‘value drive’, that is, motivated by the desire to the further social, environmental or cultural objectives rather than to make a profit.
Services the NHS provides if you need urgent or emergency medical help.
Voluntary, community social enterprise.
Whole time equivalent: a way to measure an employees’ hours of work for example 1WTE equals a person working full time hours.