Jargon Buster

//Jargon Buster
Jargon Buster 2017-08-24T14:42:41+00:00

Jargon Buster

Understanding medical and mental health jargon and acronyms can be challenging, even for those working in the industry. There are vast numbers of departments, interventions and job titles which, over the years have attracted abbreviated forms. And to make matters worse, they are often specific to the local area where services, departments and even job titles are given different names.

We have compiled this working document of national, general and local acronyms with a list of their full meanings to help our members understand what an ‘STP’ is. We will be adding full descriptions and links for further information in the near future.

To search this page please press Ctrl+F on your keyboard.



A&E Accident and Emergency
AA Alcoholics Anonymous
ACA Adult Children of Alcoholics
ACF Acute Care Forum
ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
AHP Allied Healthcare Professional
AMHP Approved Mental Health Professional
AOA Adult and Older Adult (Services)
AOA Annual Organisational Audit
AoG Assembly of Governors
AOT Assertive Outreach Team
ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder
ASW Advance Statement of Wishes
ASW Approved Social Worker


BID Be Involved Devon
BME Black and Minority Ethnic


CAB Citizens Advice Bureau
CAG Confidentiality Advisory Group
CAMHS Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service
CAT Change Agent Team
CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CCBT Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
CCC Crisis Care Concordat
CCG Clinical Commissioning Group
CCT Community Care Team
CDW Community Development Worker
CEPN Community Education Provider Network
CHAI Commission for Healthcare Audit Inspection
CLDT Community Learning Disability Team
CMHT Community Mental Health Team
CMT Corporate Management Team
CNST Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trust
CORE Outcome Measure
CPA Care Programme Approach
CPN Community Psychiatric Nurse
CQC Care Quality Commission
CQUIN Commissioning for Quality and Innovation
CRHT Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment
CSCI Commission for Social Care Inspection
CSF Creative Solutions Forum
CSP Carers Strategic Partnership
CTO Community Treatment Officer
CVS Community Voluntary Sector
CYP Children & Young People
CYPMH Children & Young People’s Mental Health Services
CYPT Children & Young Peoples Therapy


DAAT Drug and Alcohol Action Team
DAWN Disability and Wellbeing Network
DCF Devon Community Foundation
DCO Directorate of Commissioning and Operations
DCT Diverse Communities Team – Devon & Cornwall Police
DDA Disability Discrimination Act
DLA Disability Living Allowance
DNA Did Not Attend
DoH Department of Health
DRE Delivering Race and Equality in Mental Health
DSPD Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder
DTC Day Treatment Centre
DTO Detention and Training Order
DWP Department of Work and Pensions


ECT Electro Convulsive Therapy
ED Executive Directors
ED Eating Disorder
EDS Eating Disorder Service
EIP Early Intervention Psychosis Team
EIS Early Intervention Service
EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EP Education Psychologist
EPP Expert Patients Program
ESA Employment and Support Allowance


FASD Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
FE Further Education
FOI Freedon of Information
FTN Foundation Trust
FTN Foundation Trust Network


GAD 7 This patient questionnaire is used as a screening tool and severity measure for generalized anxiety disorder.
GP General Practitioner


HAZ Health Action Zone
HCJ Health and Criminal Justice
HDRU High Dependency Rehabilitation Unit
HE Higher Education
HNA Health Needs Assessment
HoNOS Health of the Nation Outcome Scales
HR Human Resources
HRA Health Research Authority


IAPT Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
IC Infection Control
ICAS Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
ICD-10 International Classification of Disorders
ICN Integrated Care Network
ICP Integrated Care Pathway
ID Indicies of Deprivation
IDACI Income deprivation among children
IDAOPI Income deprivation among older people
IDVA Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Serivce
IMD Index of Multiple Deprivation
IMHCN International Mental Health Collaborating Network
IP In-patient
IPP Individual Purchased Packages of Care
IPT Interpersonal Therapy
ISVA Independent Sexual Violence Advisors


JCP Job Centre Plus


LA Local Authority
LD Learning Disability
LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
LINKS Local Involvement Networks – now ‘HealthWatch’
LOG Lead Officer Group
LSOA Lower-Layer Super Output Area
LTP Local Transformation Plan


MCA Mental Capacity Act
MDT Multi-Disciplinary Team
MH Mental Health
MHAW Mental Health Act
MHAW Mental Health Awareness Week
MHFA Mental Health First Aid
MHP Mental Health Practitioner
MHSR Mental Health Services Research


NA Narcotics Anonymous
NCVO National Council Voluntary Organisations
NED Non-Executive Director
NEET Not in Employment, Education or Training
NGO Non-Governmental Organisation
NHSE NHS England
NICE National Institute for Health & Care Excellence
NIMH National Institute for Mental Health
NPSA National Patient Safety Agency


OBD Occupied Bed Days
OP Out Patient
OPMH Older People’s Mental Health
OT Occupational Therapist


PALS Patient Advice and Liaison Service
PCC Plymouth City Council
PCC Primary Care Centres
PCH Plymouth Community Homes
PCLT Primary Care Liaison Team
PCS Professional Clinical Services
PCT Primary Care Trust
PDU Psychiatric Decisions Unit
PHP Public Health Practitioner
PICU Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit
PIPS Plymouth Involvement & Participation Service
PMHN Plymouth Mental Health Network
POD Plymouth Online Directory
PPEC Public & Patient Engagement Committee
PPI Patient and Public Involvement
PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PSPSP Plymouth Suicide Prevention Strategic Partnership
PSW Professional Social Worker


RC Responsible Clinician
RMN Registered Mental Nurse
RNMH Registered Nurse in Mental Handicap
RTT Referral To Treatment


SAB Safeguarding Adult Board
SaLT Speech and Language Therapy
SARC Sexual Assault Referral Centre
SCN Strategic Clinical Network
SDG System Design Group
SEAP Statutory Advocacy Service (Support Empower Advocate Promote)
SEN Special Educational Needs
SENCO Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator
SEND Special Educational Needs and Disability
SFBT Solution Focused Brief Therapy
SHA Strategic Health Authority
SMART Self Management And Recovery Training
SMS Substance Misuse Services
SMT Senior Management Team
SQIP Strategic Quality Improvement Partnership
STP Sustainability Transformation Plan


ToR Terms of Reference
Triage the process of quickly examining patients who are taken to a hospital in order to decide which ones are the most seriously ill and must be treated first


VARM Vulnerable Adult Risk Management


WRAP Wellness Recovery Action Plan
WTE Whole Time Equivalent


YJB Youth Justice Board
YTD Year to Date


Accident and Emergency (A&E) A walk-in centre at hospitals for when urgent or immediate treatment is necessary.
Acute An acute illness is one that develops suddenly. Acute conditions may or may not be severe and they usually last for a short amount of time.
Admission beds NHS beds that are available for people in a crisis, when care cannot be provided in their own home.
Advocate An advocate is someone who helps to support a service user or carer through their contact with health services.
Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) A range of health professionals that includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, art therapists, and speech and language therapists.
Anti-psychotic medication Medication used to treat psychosis. There are several different types of anti-psychotic medication.
Assertive outreach Assertive outreach refers to a way of delivering treatment. An Assertive Outreach Team actively take their service to people instead of people coming to the team. Care and support may be offered in the service user’s home or in some other community setting. Care and support is offered at times suited to the service user rather than times suited to the team’s convenience.
Assessment When someone is unwell, health care professionals meet with the person to talk to them and find out more about their symptoms so they can make a diagnosis and plan treatments. This is called an assessment. Family members should be involved in assessments, unless the person who is unwell says he or she does not want that.
Caldicott guardian The person within a Trust who has responsibility for policies on safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information.
Care pathways This is the route someone who is unwell follows through health services. The path starts when someone first contacts health services – through their GP or an accident and emergency department, for example. The path continues through diagnosis, treatment, and care.
Care plan Mental health professionals draw up a care plan with someone when they first start offering them support, after they have assessed what someone’s needs are and what is the best package of help they can offer. People should be given a copy of their care plan and it should be reviewed regularly. Service users, and their families and carers, can be involved in the discussion of what the right care plan is.
Care Programme Approach (CPA) A way of assessing the health and social care needs of people with mental health problems, and coming up with a care plan that ensures people get the full help and support they need.
Carer A friend or relative who voluntarily looks after someone who is ill, disabled, vulnerable, or frail. Carers can provide care part-time or full-time.
Challenging behaviour Behaviour that puts the safety of the person or other people at risk, or that has a significant impact on the person’s or other people’s quality of life.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) CAMHS provide individual and family work helping children and young people under the age of 18 who experience emotional difficulties or mental health problems
Chronic condition A condition that develops slowly and/or lasts a long time.
Client Someone who uses health services. Some people use the terms patient or service user instead.
Clinical governance A system of steps and procedures through which NHS organisations are accountable for improving quality and safeguarding high standards to ensure that patients receive the highest possible quality of care
Clinician A health professional who is directly involved in the care and treatment of people. Examples include nurses, doctors, and therapists.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) This is a way of helping people to cope with stress and emotional difficulties by encouraging them to make the connections between how we think, how we feel, and how we behave.
Commissioning The process by which commissioners decide which services to purchase for the local community and which provider to purchase them from. Most mental health services are commissioned by Primary Care Trusts.
Community care Care and support provided outside of a hospital.
Crisis A mental health crisis is a sudden and intense period of severe mental distress.
Day care Communal care that is usually provided away from a service user’s place of residence with carers present.
Depot injections Long acting medication often used where people are unable or unwilling to take tablets regularly.
Dual diagnosis When two or more problems or disorders affect a person at the same time.
Early intervention service A service for people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Research suggests that early detection and treatment will significantly increase recovery.
Excellence Cluster It is a service that has been set-up by schools to support children, young people and their families who have social and emotional barriers to learning. The support generally takes place within the child’s school. It is mainly a service for mainstream settings.
Forensic services Services that provide support to offenders with mental health problems.
Formal patient A formal patient is a person who has been detained in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act (1983).
Foundation Trusts NHS Foundation Trusts have been created to shift a certain amount of decision-making from central Government control to local organisations and communities. This should make Foundation Trusts more responsive to the needs and wishes of their local people.
Functional mental health problems A term for any mental illness in which there is no evidence of organic disturbance (as there is with dementia) even though physical performance is impaired.
General practitioner (GP) GPs are family doctors who provide general health services to a local community. They are usually based in a GP surgery or practice and are often the first place people go with a health concern.
Holistic Taking into consideration as much about a person as possible in the treatment of an illness – this includes their physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social needs.
Independent sector Voluntary, charitable, and private care providers.
Inpatient services Services where the service user is accommodated on a ward and receives treatment there from specialist health professionals.
Integrated Services Health and social care professionals (such as social workers) working together in one team to provide a comprehensive range of support.
Intervention An ‘intervention’ describes any treatment or support that is given to someone who is unwell. An intervention could be medication, a talking therapy, or an hour spent with a volunteer.
Low secure mental health services Intensive rehabilitation services for offenders who have mental health problems.
Mental health Someone’s ability to manage and cope with the stress and challenges of life, and to manage any diagnosed mental health problems as part of leading their normal everyday life.
Mental Health Act (1983) The Mental Health Act is a law that allows for the compulsory detention of people in hospital for assessment and treatment of a mental illness. 
Mental health trust A mental health trust provides treatment, care and advice to people who have mental health problems. The services may be provided from a hospital or in the community.
Multi-disciplinary team A team made up of a range of both health and social care workers combining their skills to help people.
National institute for clinical excellence (NICE) An organisation responsible for providing guidance on best practice and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
National Service Frameworks (NSF) A set of quality standards for services issued by the Department of Health.
Non-executive director (Ned) A member of the Trust’s board who represents community interest and uses their knowledge and expertise to help improve trust services.
Non-executive directors have a responsibility to ensure the trust is fully accountable to the public for the services it provides and the public funds it uses.
Older Adults Adults aged over 65.
Organic illness Illness affecting memory and other functions that is often associated with old age. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, is an organic mental illness.
Out-patient Services Services provided to someone who comes to a hospital for treatment, consultation, and advice but who does not require a stay in the hospital.
Overview and scrutiny committee A County Council committee that is responsible for looking at the details and implications of decisions about changes to health services, and the processes used to reach these decisions.
Patient Someone who uses health services. Some people use the terms service user or client instead.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) All NHS Trusts have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service. They provide support, advice, and information to service users and their families. They can also tell you how to complain about a service, and can explain the Trust’s complaints procedures.
Pharmacist Specialist health professionals who make, dispense, and sell medicines.
Primary care Health services that are the first point of contact for people with health concerns. Examples include GP surgeries, pharmacies, the local dentists, and opticians.
Primary Care Trust (PCT) Primary Care Trusts are responsible for planning and securing health services in their local area.
Psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) A locked ward in a hospital where some people detained under the Mental Health Act may stay. They stay in the unit because they have been assessed as being at risk to themselves or others on an open acute inpatient care ward.
Psycho-educational groups Group work, using psychological therapy techniques, that address mental and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and severe stress.
Psychosis A mental state in which someone may show confused thinking, think that people are watching them, and see, feel, or hear things that other people cannot.
Rehabilitation A programme of therapy that aims to restore someone’s independence and confidence and reduce disability.
Residential and nursing homes Residential and nursing homes provide round the clock care for vulnerable adults and older adults who can no longer be supported in their own homes. Homes may be run by local councils or independent organisations.
Respite care An opportunity for a carer to have a break.
Secondary Mental Health Services Specialist mental health services usually provided by a Mental Health Trust. Services include support and treatment in the community as well as in hospitals.
Sectioning When someone is sectioned it means they are compulsorily admitted to hospital.
Service level agreements (SLAs) Internal NHS agreements between Primary Care Trusts and other NHS Trusts on the services to be provided to the local population, what their standards will be, and how monitoring will take place.
Service user This is someone who uses health services. Some people use the terms patient or client instead.
Social care Social care describes services and support that help people live their lives as fully as possible, whereas health care focuses on treating an illness. Both types of care are offered as a combined package of support to people with mental health problems.
Social inclusion Ensuring that vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are able to access all of the activities and benefits available to anyone living in the community.
Stakeholder Anybody who has an interest in an organisation, its activities, and its achievements.
Stigma Society’s negative attitude to people, often caused by lack of understanding. Stigma can be a problem for people who experience mental ill health.
Supervised Community Treatment When someone detained under the Mental Health Act for treatment is discharged from hospital, they can be placed on ‘Supervised Community Treatment.’ This means they can return home but continue to be treated without their consent.
Supplementary prescribing A partnership between a doctor, a service user, and a nurse or Allied Health Professional (AHP). Under the partnership the nurse or AHP can make adjustments to someone’s medication based on an agreed care plan.

About PMHN

Plymouth Mental Health Network helps people suffering from mental illness in and around Plymouth. We give providers of mental health support in Plymouth with a local network to discuss, share ideas and information, work in partnership, uncover and fill gaps in service provision and influence policy and meaningful change. This ensures that everyone in Plymouth has equal opportunity to achieve positive mental health and well-being.


Contact Info

HQ Business Centre, 237 Union Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth, PL1 3HQ

Phone: 01752 205210

Web: http://www.plymouthmhn.org

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