Care Glossary

It is easy to get confused by the multitude of acronyms and different terms used within the Health and Social Care sector. Everything you’ve ever wanted to check but have been too scared to ask. It’s all here:


Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) and Accountable Care Systems (ACSs)

An Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) or Accountable Care Systems (ACS) is a body that manages the agreements, resources and budgets to establish a system where many healthcare organisations provide health and social care for all. They co-ordinate their services to improve health for people who live in a particular area.  The ‘accountable’ word refers to accounting money rather than being responsible. ACOs often seen as an an American feature of health and social care and ACSs are seen as an English feature of health and social care intended to replicate ACO’s


Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were created following the Health and Social Care Act in 2012, and they replaced Primary Care Trusts on 1 April 2013. They are responsible for commissioning health and social care services locally and they manage the NHS budget to do this. They are overseen by the NHS. The membership of a CCG is usually made up by local GPs and experienced health care professionals.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is the term used to describe the commitment to lifelong learning, a skill that is invaluable to all people across every segment of society.

Engaging in CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.


CPD Portfolio

A CPD Portfolio is evidence of a persons learning and development including all proof of events, learning and activities carried out as validation of their progress.


DBS Check

Disclosure and Barring Service Check. The idea around this is that it is a check designed to prevent unsuitable people working with those who are vulnerable. This replaces what was previously the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau). We’d advise that anyone working in the Health and Social Care sector has an up to date Enhanced DBS which is the highest level required for positions that can involve caring for, training, supervising or being in charge or responsible of children or vulnerable adults. A basic DBS will check criminal convictions. Basic checks can be carried out by the individual. Only organisations can carry out Standard or Enhanced checks. A DBS doesn’t officially expire but it is recommended that this is checked at least every 3 years for your employees to be considered valid and up to date.


Electronic Call Monitoring (ECM)

Electronic Call Monitoring refers to the system that verifies of timings and date of the start/finish time for the person providing care at their designated place of work. This is done electronically at the persons entry at their place of work and the time they leave their place of work.


End of Life

End of Life refers to a person who is expected to die within the next 12 months. It can also apply to someone who is expected to die imminently (in terms of the next few hours or days).


Medical Administration Record (MAR)

A Medication Administration Record or MAR is the report that serves as a legal record of the drugs administered to a patient by a health or social care professional. The MAR is a part of a patient’s permanent record on their medical chart.



mHealth is the broad term referring to the use of mobile devices such as a mobile phone to support the management and administration of medicinal and health services.


QCF (Qualification Credit Framework)

QCF stands for Qualification Credit Framework. Within this system of learning, each unit that is studied has a credit value. In this way, you can gauge approximately how much learning you need to do to obtain a qualification and this can broadly be achieved at your pace. In the QCF system, a learner can either achieve an award (1 to 12 credit points which is 10 to 120 hours of learning, a certificate (13 to 36 credit points which is 130 to 260 hours of learning) or a diploma (37 credits or more). QCFs are regulated by Ofqual. The level of difficulty for each QCF goes from Level 1 (entry level) all the way up to Level 8.


RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework)

RQFs replace the older QCFs (see above) which Ofqual decided the rules didn’t support the design of good qualifications in all cases. The RQF is a new framework which sets consistent measures of size and difficulty of a qualification. The RQFs are also regulated by Ofqual.


Workforce Development Fund (WDF)

A fund provided by the Department of Health which is managed and distributed by Skills For Care for employers who are training their staff on eligible modules. The employers can claim back costs towards this by meeting Skills For Care’s criteria