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Jargon Description
Palliative Care

Care for people living with a terminal illness where a cure is no longer possible. It’s also for people who have a complex illness and need their symptoms controlled.


The senior healthcare professional at an accident or a medical emergency. Working on their own, or with an emergency care assistant or ambulance technician, they assess the patient’s condition and give essential treatment.


A participant is someone who takes part in a research project. Sometimes research participants are referred to as research subjects.

Participant Identification Centres

Organisations which refer potential participants to a research team at another organisation, but do not conduct trial related activity themselves. If activities such as consent take place, then the site would not be classed as a Participant Identification Centre .

Participant Information Sheet

A document explaining all relevant study information to assist the potential subject in understanding the expectations and requirements of participation in a clinical trial.


As it pertains to the formation of health and care policy, is a process that involves patients, carers and the public as stakeholders, advisors and shared decision makers.

Participatory Appraisal

Participatory Appraisal is a broad empowerment approach that seeks to build community knowledge and encourages grassroots action. It uses a lot of visual methods, making it especially useful for participants who find other methods of participation intimidating or complicated. The term Participatory Appraisal (PA) describes a family of approaches that enable local people to identify their own priorities and make their own decisions about the future. The organising agency facilitates, listens and learns. PA uses visual and flexible tools to ensure that everyone can join in regardless of background. It can be carried out in a place where people already meet in their everyday lives.

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting involves citizens directly in making decisions about budget issues. This can take place on a small scale at the service or neighbourhood level, or it can be done at the city or state level.

Participatory Research

This is a type of research where researchers and people who use services or carers are partners in a research project. The research addresses an issue of importance to service users or carers, who are involved in the design and conduct of the research, and the way the findings are made available. The aim of the research is to improve people’s lives. This isn’t a research method – it’s an approach to research, a philosophy.


A care or patient pathway is essentially a step by step of how a treatment should be carried out for a specific group of patients. The different tasks or interventions by the professionals involved in the patient care (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers etc.) are defined, optimised, and sequenced.


Anyone who uses health services.

Patient and Public Involvement in Research

Is often defined as doing research ‘with’ or ‘by’ people who use services rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. This would include, for example, involvement in the choice of research topics, assisting in the design, advising on the research project or in carrying out the research.

Patient Discharge

To inform patient officially that he/she can or must leave the hospital.

Patient Information

Researchers must provide a patient information leaflet to everyone they invite to take part in a research study, to ensure people can make an informed decision about this. The leaflet explains what taking part will involve and should include details about why the research is being done, how long it will last, and what methods will be used, the possible risks and benefits, what taking part will practically involve, e.g. extra visits to a hospital or a researcher coming to interview someone at home, what interventions are being tested, or what topics an interview will cover, how the researchers will keep participants’ information confidential, what compensation is available to people if they are harmed as a result of taking part in the research, who to contact for further information, how the results will be shared with others.

Patient Participation Group

Volunteers who are all registered at a GP practice who work together with it to improve health services

Peer Interviewing

Peer interviewing is where people are interviewed by others who have a similar experience to them, their peers. For example, in a project to find out about children’s experiences of after school care, children with experience of using after school care may act as peer interviewers, asking other children about their experience. Some researchers believe that this kind of interviewing enables people to talk more freely about their experience.

Peer Review

Peer reviewing is where a research proposal or a refereeing report of research is read and commented on by people with similar interests and expertise to those who wrote the proposal or report. Peer reviewers might be members of the public, researchers, or other professionals. Peer review helps to check the quality of a report or research proposal. Members of the public who act as peer reviewers may choose to comment on, whether the research addresses an important and relevant question, the methods used by researchers, the quality of public involvement in the research.


A user perspective is often what people with experience user perspectives of using health or social services are asked to bring when they get involved in research. They are asked to provide ideas, comments and suggestions based on the unique insight they have from their knowledge and experience of life with a health condition. They cannot be representative of everyone who uses a particular service, but they can offer their own perspective, and often that of other people.

Perspectives (User perspectives)

A user perspective is often what people with experience of using health or social services are asked to bring when they get involved in research. They are asked to provide ideas, comments and suggestions based on the unique insight they have from their knowledge and experience of life with a health condition. They cannot be representative of everyone who uses a particular service, but they can offer their own perspective, and often that of other people.


Pinpoint round spots that appear on the skin as a result of bleeding.


The science relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of the adverse effects of medicines.

Pharmacy Outlet

A chemist’s shop which dispenses prescriptions.


Most health and care services need to be planned, designed and delivered on a smaller geographic footprint and population size than the ICS. This means that within each ICS there are several smaller planning footprints – termed “places” – where health and care organisations come together to improve patient pathways and deliver more joined up care. In the context of ICSs, broadly speaking, a “place” is intended to be an area with a population size of between 250,000 and 500,000 which is meaningful for the local community and organisations serving it. For some it will align with council boundaries, while for others it will reflect the flow of patients into a hospital. 


A placebo is a fake or dummy treatment that is designed to be harmless and to have no effect. It allows researchers to test for the ‘placebo effect’. The placebo effect is a psychological response where people feel better because they have received a treatment, and not because the treatment has a specific effect on their condition. By comparing people’s responses to the placebo and to the treatment being tested, researchers can tell whether the treatment is having any real benefit.

Positive Deviance

Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community there are certain individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviour and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers. Positive Deviance aims to identify these behaviours and allow the rest of the community to learn from them.


An acronym for Patient and Public Involvement.

Pre-Assessment Tests

Checks made by a nurse before patient has an operation or other healthcare procedure.

Primary Care

The day-to-day health care given by a health care provider. Typically, this provider acts as the first contact and principal point of continuing care for patients within a health care system, and coordinates other specialist care that the patient may need

Primary Care Networks PCN

A PCN brings together a group of local GP practices with other primary and community care organisations to join up health and care services at neighbourhood level. They were established in July 2020 to help stabilise general practice by using economies of scale, overcome barriers between primary and community services, and develop population health approaches. PCNs are still in development, but more mature networks are now able to deliver more joined up care for patients by developing multidisciplinary teams and recruiting additional roles to ease workload pressures. 


A protocol is the plan for a piece of research. It usually includes information about, what question the research is asking and its importance/relevance the background and context of the research, including, what other research has been done before, how many people will be involved, who can take part, the research method, what will happen to the results and how they will be publicised. A protocol describes in great detail what the researchers will do during the research. Usually, it cannot be changed without going back to a research ethics committee for approval.


Itchy skin.


Anyone not already actively involved within health and social care in a professional capacity.

Public Health Research

Public health is concerned with promoting good health, preventing disease and protecting people from hazards, rather than treating illnesses. It covers topics like the control of infectious diseases, vaccinations, and helping people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Public health research involves finding out new knowledge (or testing out existing ideas) to do with public health – so it might address questions about the best ways to help people stop smoking, how Bird Flu spreads.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The public sector Equality Duty (PSED) requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities. It means that public bodies have to consider all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day work –in shaping policy, in delivering services and in relation to their own employees.