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Your spotlight on local services
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Jargon Buster


Acute ServicesMedical and surgical treatment provided mainly in hospitals.
Ambulatory CareServices where people do not stay in hospital overnight, for example, outpatients, X-ray, day surgery and medical doagnostics.
AssessmentConsidering the circumstances of an individual, family, group or community when looking at a future plan of action.
 BenchmarkingA 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.
Caldicott GuardianEach Trust has a Caldicott Guardian who ensures that patient information is collected, stored, used and released appropriately.
Caldicott StandardsThese are a set of standards that regulate the use of patient information throughout the NHS.
Care PathwayAn 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 CommissionBody established from 1 April 2009, which replaced the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission. More information at www.cqc.org.uk
CarerThe 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.
C DiffAbbreviation for Clostridium Difficile (also sometimes referred to as C Difficile), an infection which causes diarrhoea.
Choose and BookThe 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 GroupNew 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 the North and Central London cluster, there will be 5 CCGs: Enfield, Barnet, Camden, Islington and Haringey.
Clinical TeamA 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.
ClinicianA health professional who is directly involved in the care and treatment of patients, for example, nurses, doctors, therapists.
CommissioningThe 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 CareCare, particularly for older people, people with learning disabilities or mental illness, which is provided outside a hospital setting.
Co-morbidityTerm used to signify multiple illnesses.
Coronory Care UnitDedicated unit for specialist coronary (heart) care.
CT SCANNER - Computerised Tomography ScannerA scanner that produces detailed cross-section images of the body that cannot be provided, using conventional x-rays.
CTG - CardiotocographyAn electronic system that monitors fetal heart rate during labour.
Day Care AdmissionDay 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 CarePatients occupying a hospital bed who are ready for discharge, but awaiting other services, etc. before they can be discharged.
DiagnosticsTests to help clinical staff reach a diagnosis, for example, pathology tests or x-rays.
Elective AdmissionA patient who is admitted from the waiting list, sometimes also called planned care.
Electronic BookingA new system under development that will allow patients to make appointments directly and be able to obtain information on waiting times.
Electronic Patient RecordThe 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 AdmissionA patient admitted to hospital at short notice because of clinical need or because alternative care is not available.
Facilities ManagementEffective management of the buildings and infrastructure of an organisation, to provide an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organisation.
Family Health ServicesServices provided in the community through GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians.
Foundation TrustAutonomous 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 PractitionersDoctors 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.
Health Protection AgencyIndependent 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 BoardsForums 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 UnitArea 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-patientA patient who has been admitted to hospital for treatment and is occupying a hospital bed.
Integrated Care PathwayImproving 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) UnitDedicated unit for intensive care of patients (level 3 care).
Intermediate CareNursing 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.
MammographyA special x-ray examination of breast tissue used in the early detection of breast cancer.
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory AgencyThe 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
MonitorFoundation Trust and sector regulator for health care and reponsible for regulating all providers of NHS-funded care.
MRI Scanner - Magnetic Resonance Imaging ScannerA scanner that produces images of parts of the body by the use of a strong magnetic field and electromagnetic waves.
MRSAMeticillin 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 TeamThis is a team of preofessionals drawn from various disciplines within the Trust that combine their expertise to the benefit of patients.
Never EventAn event considered unacceptable and eminently preventable. A never event must be declared to the strategic Health Authority and investigated.
NHS DirectThis 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 OnlineNHS 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. More at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
NHS NumberThis 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 ExcellenceBody set up in April 1999 to decide which health treatments and technologies - from drugs to artificial hips - should be available on the NHS. More at www.nice.org.uk
Non-Executive DirectorsLay people appointed by the Appointments Commission who sit on the Trust board with the EDs, overseeing the work of the organisation.
NorovirusAlso 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.
North Central London ClusterFive Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which are Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington. New management arrangement which is part of the national policy to strengthen commissioning of NHS services over the next two years and to make sure that services are safe and effective whilst the new system (commissioning based on CCGs) develops.
Nursing HomeA residential home that has qualified nursing staff available to provide nursing care.
 Out-patientA patient who attends hospital for treatment, consultation and advice, but does not require a stay in hospital.
Overview and Scrutiny CommitteeAn all-party group of elected local councillors that reviews local NHS services and other issues. Introduced by The Local Government Act 2000.
Palliative CareThe 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 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 ServiceThe 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 ServicesPersonal 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 TeamProfessional 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 EnglandA 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 CollegesStatutory organisations that set and monitor professional standards for clinical services.
Secondary CareSpecialist care, typically provided in a hospital setting or following referral from primary or community health professional.
Service UserAn 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.
Tertiary CareCare of a highly specialist nature typically provided in regional centres.
Therapy ServicesThese are provided by 'allied health professionals' who include dieticians, hearing therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists (chiropodists) and speech & language therapists.
Walk-In CentresNurse-led drop-in centres managed by the NHS that provide minor treatments, self-help advice and information on the NHS, social services and other local health care organisations.
WhistleblowingPolicy in place to enable staff to raise concerns about possible malpractice within the Trust.