When it comes to the NHS, it often seems like we have our own language – which can confusing to many (sometimes even including our own staff!). So we thought it might help if we helped to translate some of that jargon in to more meaningful, every day English.
In hospitals, acute means a condition that comes on quickly, sometimes in an emergency. It usual refers to an illness or condition that lasts for a short period of time.
These are the services – medical and surgical – that we have to care for people with an acute illness or condition.
Agenda for change
Agenda for Change is the national pay system used within the NHS for all staff employed directly by the health service, with just a few exceptions. It applies to all staff with the exception of doctors, dentists and some very senior managers.
This is a term that we use to describe the path a patient will take through the NHS system, from their first contact with a GP to the end of their treatment following being referred in to one of our hospitals.
Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality commission is the regulator of health and adult social care in England. Its job is to make sure that the care people receive meets minimum national standards of quality and safety.
You can find out more about the Care Quality Commission on its website:
Care Quality Commission website
In days gone by, most patients who required surgery often stayed many days in hospital. Increasingly many patients have their surgery or treatment on a day case basis. This means they come in the morning, before being checked that they are healthy and ready for the surgery/treatment to go ahead.
They usually are given a sedative that makes them drowsy, which allows the doctor to carry out the surgery and/or treatment while they are awake. The surgery/treatment usually uses what’s called a key hole operation, which means that the patient can recover quickly and go home on the same day.
Those patients admitted to our hospitals who stay at least one night, whether as a result of an emergency or planned treatment, are called inpatients. It’s as simple as that!
The NHS Constitution is a national initiative, now enshrined in law, which brings together in to one place what staff, patients and the public can expect from the NHS.
A patient who comes into one of our hospitals, usually to see a consultant or other senior doctor, having been referred to us by their GP. This is when the doctor will investigate the patient’s condition to see whether or not further specialist treatment is needed, including when and where that should happen.
Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)
Our PALS teams are here to listen and support patients in our hospitals. They get involved in a very wide range of things, from providing people with information, helping sort out interpreters and supporting those who wish to comment on our services. You can find out more, including how to contact them, on their pages on our website: