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Our glossary

We have created this glossary to improve our information and explain difficult or long words on our website.  It is aimed at supporting and involving people who have a learning disability or difficulty, speak limited English or who have a low literacy level.

This glossary is designed to engage and empower people to make choices and understand more about us and the services we provide.

Our aim is to make sure that reasonable adjustments are made to our information to make it more accessible for people in the community who have a learning disability.



Accident and Emergency (also known as ED) is a medical treatment facility specialising in emergency medicine, the acute care of patients who present without prior appointment; either by their own means or by that of an ambulance. Also see ED.

Accessible information

Information that is easy to understand.


Used to describe a disorder or symptom that comes on suddenly and needs urgent treatment.

Acute Trust

This is a National Health Service trust. You will find accident and emergency departments and urgent care centres as part of acute trusts.


The first part of staying in hospital is called your admission.


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome - the result of a virus transmitted in sexual fluids and blood.


Refers to patients who are able to walk to appointments etc.


Special type of x-ray used to look at blood flow.



This is about people who are not white. BAME means Black, Asian Minority Ethnic.



The general term used to describe a tumour which could be in many different parts of the body.


To do with the heart.

CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group)

This is a clinical commissioning group made up of a team of GPs. They work together to plan and decide what health services there should be in their local area.


The use of chemicals to destroy cancer cells or slow down cancer growth.

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Services that are provided by the NHS for children and young people up to the age of 18 who need support with their emotions, their behaviour or their mental health.

Clinical Pathway

A patient care management tool that organises, sequences, and times the major interventions of nursing staff, physicians, and other departments for a particular case type.


These are doctors or healthcare professionals who see and care for patients.


This is when we share ideas and pass messages between each other. This could be information, thoughts or feelings using speech, writing, signing or body language.


This means something, or someone, is set/based in the community; the local area.

Community care

Health or social care and treatment outside of hospital. It can take place in clinics, non-acute hospitals or in people's homes.


This means something must be done by law or is a rule.


This means something is private and is not to be shared with others.


This is permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.


A senior doctor who takes full responsibility for the clinical care of patients. Most head a team of junior doctors.


This is a conversation or discussion with people, such as GPs, to get advice from or information about.


CQC stands for Care Quality Commission who check up on the care provided in care homes, hospitals, social care and GP surgeries.


Data Protection Act

This is law. This law is about keeping private and personal information safe.


Medical treatments concerned with the skin and skin conditions.


Purification or filtering of the blood to remove harmful elements when kidneys, which normally perform this function, have failed.

Disability Discrimination Act

This is law. This is sometimes called the DDA. It is a law that says disabled people must be treated fairly and equally.


Difficulty swallowing.



Emergency Department is also known as A&E (accident and emergency) a medical treatment facility specialising in emergency medicine, the acute care of patients who present without prior appointment; either by their own means or by that of an ambulance.


Used to describe operations, procedures or treatments that are planned rather than carried out in an emergency.


The insertion of a tube-shaped instrument called an endoscope into a body cavity, to investigate or treat various medical problems.


This can mean two things. Engagement can mean that you and your partner are going to be married. It can also mean holding your attention and involving others in conversation.


ENT stands for Ear, Nose and Throat, and relates to their treatment.


Equality is about making sure that all people are treated fairly and equally and have the same or similar opportunities.


Freedom of Information Act

This is law. People are able to ask for information from a public authority, such as an NHS organisation.


General practitioner

This is also called a GP. This is a doctor providing primary care services, usually providing the first point of contact for NHS patients.


This means governing, or ruling, something like a country or an organisation.


This means a general practitioner. A GP is a doctor providing primary care services, usually providing the first point of contact for NHS patients.


This is advice on how to do something.


Healthcare that focuses on women's reproductive systems.


Hospital passport

It is a document to help someone with communications difficulties or a learning disability that gives information to hospital staff about the person, including their likes and dislikes, interests, and other things.


This means keeping clean to stop germs and disease from spreading.



This can be called a jab, vaccination or injection.


A person who has been admitted to a hospital or other health facility for a period of at least 24 hours.


This is a person who can talk in more than one language or sign language. An interpreter helps people, who speak different languages or who may be deaf, to communicate and talk to each other.



This means a group of laws, which are rules about how we have to behave and what must not happen.



This is a drug or a medicine that you are given to help you feel better.

Mental Health Act

This is a law in England and Wales. This law allows a person with a mental illness to be kept in hospital and treated without their permission, to make sure the person is safe and the public is protected.


MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging which are scanners used primarily to detect cancer.

Multi-disciplinary team

This is a group of people working together. The people are usually healthcare professionals. They share plans and help each other, with the best interests of their patients in mind.



The National Health Service


To do with newborn babies, up to the age of four weeks.


The study and treatment of nerve systems.



Result of a process, including outputs, effects, and impacts.


This is a patient who gets medical treatment without having to stay in a hospital.


Patient Safety

Freedom from accidental or preventable injuries produced by medical care.


People who are qualified to dispense medicines on prescription and advise people about over-the-counter medical products.


This means stopping something from happening.

Primary Care

The first stage of treatment when you are ill and usually provided by your GP or at a community clinic - see also secondary care.


Step-by-step instructions on how to perform a task based on technical and theoretical knowledge.


To do with the lungs.


The use of Xrays and radioactive substances for diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The use of high-energy radio-waves to destroy or shrink cancer tumours.
To do with the kidneys.


Secondary care

The second stage of treatment when you are ill and usually provided by a hospital. See also primary care.

Self advocacy

This is about getting good information you can understand, so you can make your own decisions and and speak up for yourself.

Sign posting

This means showing the way to somewhere or something.


The interruption of blood flow to an area of the brain caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel or artery or a blood vessel breaking.


This are things that happen to your mind or body that tell us you have a disease or health condition. For example, a cough or a runny nose can be a symptom of a cold.



This can mean different things. Being tender means to be soft or gentle. To tender means to offer something, such as money or an offer to do some work for payment.


The effect on the body of a wound or violent impact.


This is something that doctors, nurses or other health workers give to help people get better. Treatment can be anything like medicine, surgery, physiotherapy or speech therapy.


A system which sorts medical cases in order of urgency to determine how quickly patients receive treatment, for instance in accident and emergency departments.



Medical treatment that concerns the urinary system.



This is a jab or injection. This makes sure that you don’t catch certain bugs and illnesses.


To do with the arteries and veins carrying blood around the body.

Voluntary sector

The voluntary sector is made up of organisations that choose not to make a profit, such as charities.



This is about being well and happy.


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Coronavirus - useful information

The latest health information about Coronavirus can be found at  Information about our local services can be found on this website here.

From Monday 15 June 2020, visitors and outpatients coming into our hospitals will be asked to wear a face covering at all times, to help us reduce the spread of Covid-19.  A face covering can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.  It should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.  For more information click here.

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