Healthwatch Portsmouth jargon buster

What do we mean?

In health and social care we use a range of specialist phrases, initials and acronyms and make regular reference to health and care organisations, policies and concepts in Portsmouth and the wider area that might at first appear baffling.

In our publications we try, where possible, to avoid using jargon but inevitably on occasions we need to use the specialist language. This page attempts to define the words we commonly use.

If you can think of any other terms that need defining or clarifying please contact us and we will add them to the page, similarly if you think we have got a definition wrong or it could be improved please tell us!

ACO-Accountable Care Organisation – now known as integrated care systems

Acute services – health services provided usually in hospitals

Adult social care – care and support for adults to enable them to manage their lives and live as independently as possible. People with long term health conditions, physical or mental disabilities, older people may need adult social care services. Adult care is usually accessed through the council. It includes assessment of needs, providing service or allocating funds to enable people to buy their own care and support. It includes residential care, home care, personal assistants, day services, the provision of aids and adaptations and personal budgets.

AMH – Adult mental health services

Big Health Conversation – consultation launched by Portsmouth CCG to consult with local people about the future of health in the local area especially how improvements could be made, their needs and how expectations could be met.

Care home – residential accommodation where individuals live with other people with staff on-site to provide care and support. Some care homes also employ registered nurses to provide nursing care. Care homes may be privately owned and managed or run by a charity or the local council. Regulated by Care Quality Commission (CQC) (see below)

CQC – Care Quality Commission – body responsible for inspecting and rating all health and social care services in England. Its ratings of services range from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Inadequate’. The CQC will work with bodies receiving the lowest ratings to improve the quality of care, but can shut down a provider, if no improvement occurs. See

CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group  – body responsible for commissioning local health services (both in hospital and in the community). The CCG decides what services need to be provided and allocates funding to meet these needs. Portsmouth CCG covers the whole Portsmouth City Council area and has an annual budget of approximately £260 million. See .

Commissioning – the planning and funding of local health services.

DHSC – Department of Health and Social Care – Government ministry responsible for shaping health and social care policy in England and funding health and social care services. See

Director of Public Health – council employee responsible for health improvement, health protection and public health in a council area.

Domiciliary care – care provided in home to enable an individual to live an independent life.

EHC-Education Health and Care plan –plan for children and young people, aged up to 25, who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

Extra care housing – sheltered housing for older people with care and support available on site to enable them to live independently. Regulated by CQC.

GP – General Practitioner – Local family doctor usually operating with other GPs as part of a practice to provide NHS services as the ‘first port of call’, known as primary care, for all non-urgent or immediate life threatening health conditions. There are 17 GP separate practices currently in the Portsmouth area.

HIOW – Hampshire and Isle of Wight – area used for the STP, includes counties of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, city of Southampton, and city of Portsmouth. The area has a population of approxinately two million people.

ICS – Integrated Care System – ICSs bring together NHS commissioners, providers and local authorities to plan how to improve health and care for the populations in a particular area.

Local Offer – Information on what is available locally for children and young people, up to age 25, with special educational needs or a disability.

MCP – Multi-speciality Community Provider – a new approach to providing community healthcare which will see greater integration of primary care, community health and social care services.

NHS England – Responsible for the funding of healthcare in England and the direct commissioning of primary care, public health, offender health, military and veteran health as well as specialist health services. In total the NHS employs 1.2 million people in England and has an annual budget of approximately £125 billion. See

Nursing home – residential home with trained nursing care on-site for people needing regular medical treatment. Regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service – service offering confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters, providing a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. See

PCC – Portsmouth City Council – responsible for the administration of the Portsmouth area. The Council has an annual budget of £162million and employs more than 3,600 staff. See

PHSO – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – independent body to which health and other complaints are referred if they are unable to be resolved by a complaint to the service provider. See

PHT – Portsmouth Hospitals Trust – responsible for running the Queen Alexandra Hospital (QAH or QA). See

Portsmouth Blueprint – strategy for Portsmouth’s health and care drawn up by PCC and the CCG. See Portsmouth Blueprint.

Primary care – GP services, dentists, high street opticians and community pharmacies – over 90% of people’s first contact with the NHS is through primary care.

(Portsmouth) Primary Care Alliance – organisation set up by Portsmouth GP practices which has been contracted to provide city-wide out of hours care. Incorporates the Acute Visiting Service and Extended Access Service –

PSEH – Portsmouth and South East Hampshire – unit used by the NHS to organise services. The PSEH area includes the urban areas of Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant as well as the more rural areas of Petersfield and Bordon. The area has a population of around 650,000 people

QAH – Queen Alexandra Hospital – 1,200 bed hospital in Cosham serving mostly Portsmouth and Hampshire based residents. In addition QAH is one of five Ministry of Defence Hospital Units nationally with special responsibility for the armed forces. See Latest CQC reports on the hospital –

Secondary care – Specialist services provided by hospitals and other health providers. Patients are generally referred to secondary care providers by their GP, having had an initial appointment.

SEND – Special Educational Needs and Disability – official framework within which children and young people up to age 25 are assessed and their educational needs met.

Social care – Non medical care and support provided to people to enable them to live as independently as possible

Solent NHS Trust – responsible for running community health services in the Portsmouth, Southampton and South Hampshire area. Main provider of mental health services in Portsmouth area. Solent employs approximately 3,800 staff and has an annual budget of £175million. See

St Mary’s Community Health Campus – hospital in Milton offering a range of in-patient and community services. Managed by Solent NHS Trust.

St Mary’s Treatment Centre – Urgent care walk-in centre for minor injuries or illnesses, located in Milton. This is an NHS facility run by Care UK. See

STP – Sustainability and Transformation Partnership -(previously known as Sustainability and Transformation Plans) – STPs were created to bring local health and care leaders together to plan around the long-term needs of local communities, within existing resources. STPs aim to build services around the needs of local areas, in our case the Portsmouth, Southampton, Isle of Wight and the wider Hampshire area, rather than around existing organisation boundaries, and to meet need within limited resources.  It is estimated that if the NHS across Hampshire and Isle of Wight do nothing to change the rising demand for services and the way they are provided, by 2020/21 a gap of £577 million between the money received and what is needed will exist. NHS England anticipate that by 2021 all STPs will have grown into Integrated Care Systems. Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP. Kings Fund – STPs explained.

Supported living services – Adapted accommodation as an alternative to residential care for people requiring care and support to live independent lives. Supported living services themselves are not regulated by the CQC but care services that come in to provide support and care are regulated.

Third sector – voluntary organisations; charities and others operating on a not for profit basis.

Updated 6 March 2019

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