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18th November 2016

NHS Acronyms – Love or Hate?

NHS Acronyms – Love or Hate

Ever wonderhow many acronyms are used in General Practice? I did a bit of research and found 200 acronyms and abbreviations available on the NHS (National Health Service) Employers Website. That's a lot of NHS acronyms.

The NHS confederation have over 700 acronyms and abbreviations that are used by the NHS. There is now even an app for all these acronyms!

On a personal note, I don’t particularly love or hate them. However, I do frequently catch myself saying ‘oh no, not another one’ as I try to mentally commit it to memory along with all the others!  Love them or hate them though, it is almost essential for your non-clinical staff to know what these mean, in order for them to carry out their job role as efficiently as possible.

How Can Staff (Old and New Alike) Get to Know What These Mean?

Consider including these in staff training or team-building sessions in groups of clinical and non-clinical staff.  Make your training enjoyable with mini quizzes and prizes for the team who gets the most correct.

Patients -  Do They Know What Acronyms Mean?

I wonder if you or another practice staff member have ever asked a patient if they would like to book their ‘COPD review’ only to be met with a look of complete bewilderment?  On the other hand, some patients may have extensive knowledge of acronyms, that may sometimes far outshine some of your staff’s knowledge of them.

Posters, Posters Everywhere

We constantly receive posters to put up around the practice from various agencies, aimed to help staff to remember the many guidances given to us.  Why not adopt this aid memoire technique and create your own posters of NHS acronyms? This could be useful at ground level for staff and patients. Generate your own list from the ones that are mostly used in practice. During training sessions, ask your staff to think about additional ones to list.

Want the definitions of more than 200 commonly-used acronyms in General Practice?  You can find them on the GMS Acronym Buster.

You can find another list of more general NHS acronyms here: Acronym Buster.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Michelle Broutta

GP Specialist

In December 2014, Michelle joined the Care Quality Commission as a Specialist Advisor (SpA), Practice Manager. Michelle works with the Inspection team and inspects primary medical services. To date, Michelle has inspected around 60 GP practices across the country.

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