Please find below a description of NHS terms and abbreviations which you may come across whilst reading documents and sections on the BOB ICS website.

A further NHS jargon buster can be found on the NHS England website.




Accident and Emergency (A&E)

A hospital service which provides care for emergency, life threatening and critical conditions for patients of all ages, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is also known as ED – Emergency Department.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

An ICS brings together health and care organisations to take responsibility for the cost and quality of care for a defined population within an agreed budget

Ambulatory Care

Ambulatory Care is when some conditions may be treated without the need for an overnight stay in hospital. Patients will receive the same medical treatment they would previously have received as an inpatient but they go home after treatment.

At scale

The ability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or its ability to be enlarged to accommodate that growth.

Business as Usual (BAU)

Day-to-day, standards business for organisations (as opposed to special projects or programmes).

Better Care fund (BCF)

The Better Care Fund. (BCF).announced in June 2013 created 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.

Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME)

Black, Asian minority ethnic.  

Berkshire west, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire (BOB)

This describes the geographic location of the STP

Care navigator

Staff who are responsible for providing support to help people find the right service for their needs. They may work in GP surgeries or be part of the voluntary sector. Care navigators can also be called health champions, care co-ordinators or patient liaison officers. People doing these jobs can help identify services that might be helpful or act in a co-ordinating role, contacting other organisations, and arranging for practical help where necessary.

Care pathway

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.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

A Government-funded organisation which inspects hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes and care services in England to make sure they are meeting government standards and to share their findings with the public.

Case for change

Sets out the reasons why current health and services need to change. In BOB these set out why we are changing the way we work - to improve health, reduce health inequalities and deliver health and integrated care services which are of consistently high quality within the money available

Clinical Senate



Clinical Senates have been established to be a source of independent, strategic advice and guidance to commissioners to assist them to make the best decisions about healthcare for the populations they represent.

Clinical Commissioning group (CCG)

Established as statutory NHS organisations in 1 April 2013, responsible for planning and buying (commissioning) the majority of hospital and community-based health services for patients within their local communities, taking over the majority of responsibilities previously held by primary care trusts.


The process of formal discussion which aims to inform and also give the opportunity for queries / questions about proposed changes to services or working practices.


Commissioning is the process of planning, agreeing and monitoring services.

Delayed transfers of care

According to NHS England, a ‘delayed transfer of care’ occurs when an adult inpatient in hospital (children are excluded from this definition) is ready to go home or move to a less acute stage of care, but is prevented from doing so. Delays can occur when patients are being discharged home or to a supported care facility, such as a residential or nursing home, or require further, less intensive, care and are awaiting transfer to a community hospital or hospice.

Department of Health (DH)

A department of the UK government with responsibility for government policy for health and social care matters and the the National Health Service (NHS) in England.

Five Year Forward View (FYFV)

The NHS Five Year Forward View was published on 23 October 2014 and sets out a new approach for the future of the NHS based around the new models of care.

Formalised partnership working

Working officially together with other organisations to address specific issues and may be short or long term.

General acute trusts

A hospital trust, also known as an acute trust, is an NHS trust that provides secondary (hospital) health services within the English National Health Service

Health analytics

Health analytics is a term used to describe the healthcare analysis activities that can be undertaken as a result of data collected. It allows for the examination of patterns in various healthcare data in order to determine how clinical care can be improved while limiting excessive spending


Healthwatch England is an independent organisation giving people a local voice about their health and social care services. It supports and co-ordinates the activity of all the local Healthwatch. Each borough or CCG area typically has its own largely autonomous Healthwatch. They have a seat on health and wellbeing boards, ensuring that the views and experiences of patients, carers and other service users are taken into account when preparing local needs assessments and strategies such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Jargon buster 

Local Authority (LA)

A local branch of the Government responsible for implementing the laws of Whitehall within the boundaries of the local area

Local digital roadmap (LDR)

In April 2016, as part of the annual Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) planning process, CCGs were required to submit their plans - local digital roadmaps - for how their local health and care services will achieve the ambition of being ‘paper-free’ by 2020 (in line with national standards).

Multi-disciplinary teams

A team or group consisting of representatives from several different professional backgrounds who all have different areas of expertise.

NHS England

NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England. It sets the priorities and direction of the NHS and encourage and inform the national debate to improve health and care.

NHS Improvement

NHS Improvement is responsible for overseeing foundation trusts and NHS trusts, as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care. It offers supports these providers to give patients consistently safe, high quality, compassionate care within local health systems that are financially sustainable.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Provides guidance, advice and information services for health, public health and social care professionals.

Per capita basis

Per capita can take the place of saying ‘per person’ in any number of statistical observances.

Primary care

Healthcare provided outside of a hospital setting e.g. general practice and community health.

Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is a voluntary annual reward and incentive programme for all GP surgeries in England, detailing practice achievements. It is not about performance management but resourcing and then rewarding good practice.

Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP)

Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention Programme (QIPP) is a large-scale programme developed by the Department of Health to drive forward quality improvements in NHS care.

Secondary care

Healthcare provided by hospitals (acute medical care).


Looking after yourself in a healthy way and managing symptoms to avoid exacerbation for those with on-going long-term conditions.

Social Care

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 and their families and carers.


Anybody who has an interest or is impacted by an organisational change i.e. patients, GPs, staff, members of the public.

Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

Following publication of the NHS Five Year Forward view, all NHS regions in England are required to work together and with their local councils to produce a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for local services. This work is being jointly carried out by south east London clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), hospitals, community health services and mental health trusts, with the support of local councils and members of the public. These plans describe how local health and social care organisations will work together to produce a population based strategy to deliver the vision laid out in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and ensure financial and clinical sustainability. They cover the period from October 2016 to March 2021.

Third Sector

Patient, public and voluntary sector provided services - often charitable or voluntary organisations.

Urgent care

Any health care provision that is not planned or routine but arises from unpredicted changes in health and wellbeing.


In January 2015, the NHS invited individual organisations and partnerships to apply to become ‘vanguard’ sites for the new care models programme, one of the first steps towards delivering the Five Year Forward View and supporting improvement and integration of services. In March, the first 29 vanguard sites were chosen. There were three vanguard types – integrated primary and acute care systems; enhanced health in care homes; and, multispecialty community provider vanguards.