Jargon buster

A guide to some of the terms used within the NHS

Caldicott Guardian

The senior healthcare professional in each NHS organisation who is responsible for safeguarding the confidentiality of patient information. The name comes from the Caldicott Report, which identified 16 recommendations for the use and storage of patient- identifiable information.


Used as shorthand to describe child and adolescent mental health services.  There are four different levels of services for children and adolescents with mental health problems - these are described as Tiers 1, 2, 3 or 4.

CAMHS Tier 1

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by people who are not mental health specialists. This includes GPs, health visitors, school nurses, teachers, social workers, youth justice workers and voluntary agencies. Services at this level include general advice and treatment for less severe problems.

CAMHS Tier 2

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by a specialist, such as a psychologist or counsellor, in a GP practice, paediatric clinic, school or youth service. Many staff providing services at this level are employed by a local authority or Primary Care Trust.

CAMHS Tier 3

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provided by a team of specialists in a community mental health clinic or a hospital outpatients clinic. This level of service is for children and young people with severe and complex problems which they have had for some time.

Team members are likely to include child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, child psychotherapists, occupational therapists, art, music and drama therapists.

CAMHS Tier 4

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for children and young people with the most serious problems. Services at this level may be provided in hospital.

Care Co-ordinator

The person who is responsible for making sure that your care is properly planned and you get the help you need. They will usually work with a community mental health team and will be the person you see most often. They will usually be a Community Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker or Occupational Therapist.

Care pathway

A standard way of giving care or treatment to someone with a particular diagnosis.

Care plan

A plan for your care over the next few weeks or months. It should be written down and you should have a copy.  If you think it is wrong, or something is missing, you can ask for it to be changed.

Care Programme Approach (CPA)

This is for anyone who needs to see several people or organisations for their care or treatment. If you are on the CPA, there will be a meeting every three to six months where everyone involved in your care, including you, will meet to discuss how things have been going and what should happen next. It requires health and social services and other agencies to work together with you to provide an agreed programme of care.


A person who looks after someone else without being paid to do so. This can involve helping out with practical things including managing money, and being someone to talk with, and someone who is there to listen to you.

Case Register Interactive Search (CRIS)

A tool which has been developed for use within our Biomedical Research Centre which provides authorised researchers with secure, anonyms access to the information held on SLaM's electronic patient records system.

Clinical Academic Group (CAG)

An operational unit which brings together all the clinical services, research and teaching which takes place within a particular area (such as psychosis or addictions).

Clinical Commissioning Group

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are groups of GPs that are responsible for buying health and care services. All GP practices are part of a CCG.

Clinical Neuroscience

This involves research and treatment of brain diseases (such as epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis) and diseases of other parts of the central nervous system.

Clinical trial

A research study to answer specific questions about new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.


A term which is used to describe someone who provides care and treatment to patients, such as a nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

A 'talking treatment' which helps you to see how early relationships and experiences have affected how you see yourself, other people and how you behave. It usually takes about 16 weekly sessions and focuses on a problem that is important for you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

A talking treatment which can help you to overcome upsetting and unhelpful ways of thinking and behaviour. It helps you to be clearer about these patterns and then helps you to work out your own ways of changing them. It usually involves doing some work between sessions when you "try out" different ways of thinking or behaving.

Cognitive therapy

Psychological therapy in which cognition (thinking) is seen as the most significant factor in psychological problems and their treatment.


An organisation which determines what health and social care services should be provided for local people, and which then commissions and allocates funding for other organisations to provide them. This could be a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or local authority.

Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

A team of people from different health and social care professions who work in your community to help you to recover from, and cope with, a mental health problem.

Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)

A nurse who has been trained to help people with mental health problems and who works in the community, instead of in a hospital.

Conditional discharge

These are the conditions which relate to the discharge of a patient who has been treated in hospital under Section 41 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) (the law in England that controls what services can do when they are trying to assess or treat someone against their will). If you do not comply with these conditions then you could be brought back into hospital.

Consultant Psychiatrist

The medical doctor with specialist experience and qualifications in mental illness and emotional disorders that has overall responsibility for your care. This includes your medication and other activities you may take part in whilst in hospital.

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