Acronym buster

This A-Z is designed to help you translate and navigate the sometimes confusing array of acronyms used in the healthcare field.

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ABHI Association of the British Healthcare Industries
ABPI Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
ACD Appraisal Consultation Document (a preliminary decision document issued by NICE)
ADTC Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee (Scotland)
ADE Adverse Drug Event
ADR Adverse Drug Reaction
AESGP Association of the European Self Medication Industry
AGNSS Advisory Group for National Specialised Services
AHSC Academic Health Science Centre
AMRC Association of the Medical Research Charities
AMS Academy of Medical Sciences
APG American Pharmaceutical Group
APPG All-party parliamentary group
APPG All Party Pharmacy Group
AQF Annual Quality Framework (health – Wales)
AQP Any qualified provider
AWCDG All Wales Cancer Drugs Group (supports the AWMSG)
AWMSG All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (HTA body for Wales)
AWPAG All Wales Prescribing Advisory Group (subgroup of AWMSG)



BAEPD British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors
BAPW British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers
BBSRC Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
BGMA British Generic Manufacturers Association
BIA BioIndustry Association
BIGT Bioindustry Innovation and Growth Team (BIS Subgroup, authors of BIGT 2015)
BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
BMA British Medical Association
BNF British National Formulary
BNFc British National Formulary for Children
BIVDA British In Vitro Diagnostics Association
BPG British Pharmaceutical Group



CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CCG Cancer Campaigning Group
CD Controlled drugs
CHC Community Health Council (Wales)
CHM Commission on Human Medicines
CHMP Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (EU, prepares opinions of the EMA)
CLA Copyright Licensing Agency
CMO Chief Medical Officer
CMU Commercial Medicines Unit
COF Commissioning Outcomes Framework
COMP Committee on Orphan Medicinal Products Code of Practice (see PMCPA)
CoP Code of Practice (see PMCPA)    
CPA Chief Pharmaceutical Advisor (Wales)
CPO Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (Scotland)                                                 
CQC Care Quality Commission (regulates adult social care services)
CQUIN Commissioning for quality and innovation
CRG Clinical Reference Group
CRUK Cancer Research UK
CSA Chief Scientific Adviser (to the Prime Minister)
CSO Commissioning Support Organisation
CSS Commissioning Support Service
CSU Commissioning Support Unit
CTD Clinical Trials Directive



DH/DoH Department of Health
DHSS Department of Health and Social Services (Wales only)
DHSSPS Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland)
DSU Decision Support Unit, NICE
DTC Direct to Consumer
DTCA – Direct to Consumer Advertising
D&TC Drug and Therapeutics Committee
DTP Direct to Pharmacy/Direct to Public


EFPIA European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations
EGA European Generic Medicines Association
EHR Electronic Health Record
EMA European Medicines Agency (protection and promotion of public and animal health through evaluation and supervision of medicines, previously the EMEA)
EMG European Medicines Group
EMIG Ethical Medicines Industry Group
EPR Electronic patient record
EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
ERG Evidence Review Groups (groups that review economic models to help decision making in the NICE process)
EuropaBio European Biotechnology Industry Association


FAD Final Appraisal Determination (the final decision document issued by NICE)
FDA Food & Drug Administration (The US licensing authority)
FH Foundation Hospital
FIH First in Human (regarding clinical studies)
FIM First in man (regarding clinical studies)
FOI Freedom of Information


GAVI Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation
GDG Guideline Development Group
GIRP European Association of the Pharmaceutical Full-Line Wholesalers
GMC General Medical Council
GMS General medical services
GPC General Practitioners Committee (part of the BMA)
GPhC General Pharmaceutical Council
GPRD General practice research database


HCP Healthcare professional
HEAT targets Health, Efficiency & Resources, Access, Treatment (Scotland)
HES Hospital episode statistics
HFEA Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (IVF and UK fertility treatment regulator)
HiS Healthcare Improvement Scotland (replaced QiS, Quality Improvement Scotland from 1/4/11)
HPA Health Protection Agency (support and advice to UK agencies to protect public health)
HRA Health Research Authority
HRG Healthcare resource group
HRSS Health Research Support Service (developed and delivered by RCP to help researchers analyse a wide range of health care and other data)
HSC Health and Social Care (Northern Ireland) 
HSCB Health and Social Care Board (Northern Ireland)
HSE Health survey for England
HSE Health and Safety Executive
HTA Health Technology Assessment (the way NICE, AWMSG and SMC assess the value and use of a medical technology)
HTA Human Tissue Authority


IAPO International Association of Patient Organisations
ICD-10 International classification of diseases
ICER Incremental cost effectiveness ratio
IFPMA International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations
IP Intellectual Property
IVF In Vitro Fertilisation


JCVI Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
JPG Japanese Pharmaceutical Group
JPMA Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association
JV Joint venture


LCGs Local Commissioning Groups (Northern Ireland)
LES Local Enhanced Service (part of Quality & Outcomes Framework QoF)
LHB Local Health Board (Wales)
LNDG London New Drugs Group (LCNDG – London Cancer New Drugs Group)
LPC Local Pharmaceutical Committee
LSIDB Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board
LSUK Life Sciences UK
LTCAS Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland


M&TC Medicines and Therapeutics Committee (Wales)
MAG Medicines Access Group
MDT Multi-disciplinary team
MHRA Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (responsible for safety, quality and performance of medicines and medical devices)
MISG Ministerial Industry Strategy Group
MMF Medicines Management Forum (N. Ireland)
MMIT Medicines Management Information Team (N. Ireland)
MMPB Medicines Management Programme Board (Wales)
MMR Measles, Mumps and Rubella combined vaccine
MMTSG Ministerial Medical Technology Strategy Group
MPIG Medicines Pharmacy and Industry Group
MRC Medical Research Council


NAB National Advisory Board (Wales)
NAO National Audit Office
NAPC National Association of Primary Care
NC3Rs National Centre for the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of Animals in Research
NCAS National Clinical Assessment Service
NCASP National Clinical Audit Support Programme
NCDG New Cardiovascular Drugs Group (Wales)
NCRI National Cancer Research Institute
NCRN National Cancer Research Network
NDA National diabetes audit
NDA New drug application
NDC New Drugs Committee
NDG National Delivery Group (Wales)
NES NHS Education Scotland
NHS National Health Service
NHSBT NHS Blood and Transplant
NHSC National Horizon Scanning Centre
NHSCB NHS Commissioning Board
NHSFT NHS Foundation Trust
NHS IC NHS Information Centre
NHSLA NHS Litigation Authority
NHS QIS NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (improving the safety and quality of patient care in Scotland)
NHSScotland National Health Service in Scotland
NICaN Northern Ireland Cancer Network
NICE National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (provides national guidance on health in a number of areas)
NIHR National Institute for Health Research
NIII National Institute for Innovation and Improvement
NLIAH National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare (Wales) 
NISCHR National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (Wales)
NMG New Medicines Group
NOCRI National Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure
NPA National Pharmacy Association
NPC National Prescribing Centre (supports safe and cost-effective use of medicines in the NHS)
NPG Northern Pharmaceutical group
NPSA National Patient Safety Agency
NRES National Research Ethics Service
NRSCC NHS Research Scotland Coordinating Centre (point of contact for clinical research)
NSCG National Specialised Commissioning Group
NSF National Service Framework (strategies that set requirements for care in specific areas)
NTA National Treatment Agency


OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OFT Office of Fair Trading
OHE Office of Health Economics
OLS Office for Life Sciences
OMIG Orphan Medicines Industry Group
OMTG Overarching Medical Technologies Group  
ONS Office of National Statistics
OSCHR Office for the Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research
OTC Over the counter (medicines)


P Pharmacy-only medicine
PACT Prescription analysis and cost tabulation
PAGB Proprietary Association of Great Britain (represents manufacturers of OTC treatments)
PALS Patient Advice and Liaison Service
PAPIG Patient and Public Involvement Group (part of Scottish Medicines Consortium)
PAS Patient Access Scheme
PASAG Patient Access Scheme Advisory Group (Scotland)
PASLU Patient Access Scheme Liaison Unit
PASW Patient Access Scheme Wales
PBC Practice-based commissioning (commissioning purchased by GPs)
PbR Payment by Results
PCA Prescription cost analysis
PCC Patient and Client Council (Northern Ireland)
PCP Primary Care Partnerships (Northern Ireland)
PCT Primary Care Trust  
PFA Priorities For Action (Northern Ireland)
PHA Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland)
PHE Public Health England
PhRMA Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (US pharmaceutical trade association)                                                 
PIL Patient Information Leaflet
PMCPA Pharmaceutical Medicines Code of Practice Authority, responsible for administering the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's (ABPI) Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry at arm's length from the ABPI
POI Pharmaceutical Oncology Initiative (ABPI group)
POM Prescription Only Medicine
PPRS Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
PSMI Pharmaceutical Serious Mental Illness Initiative (part of the ABPI)
PSNC Pharmaceutical Services Negotiation Committee
PSU Prescribing Support Unit
PV Pharmacovigilance


QALY Quality-adjusted life year (the measure used by NICE in making decisions in HTAs)
QIPP Quality, innovation, productivity and prevention (helping NHS organisations manage efficiency and quality based on 2009 DH publication ‘2010 – 2015 From Good to Great’)
QMAS Quality management analysis system
QOF Quality Outcomes Framework (performance management and rewards for GPs)
QoL Quality of Life
QS Quality standards


R&D Research and Development
RCGP Royal College of General Practitioners
RCN Royal College of Nursing
RCOG Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
RCOphth Royal College Ophthalmologists
RCP Royal College of Physicians / Research Capability Programme (NHS/ NIHR database which enables the research potential into national health data)
RCPCH Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
RCS Royal College of Surgeons
RPS Royal Pharmaceutical Society
RSM Royal Society of Medicine


SCG Specialised Commissioning Group
SHTG Scottish Health Technologies Group
SIG Senior Industry Group (industry representatives meeting with Minister as part of the OLS)
SIGN Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (develops clinical guidelines for Scotland)
SLA Service level agreement 
SMC Scottish Medicines Consortium (HTA body in Scotland)
SME Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprise                                             
Summary of Product Characteristics (provided with all pharmaceutical products)
SPC Summary of Product Characteristics (provided with all pharmaceutical products)
SpHA Summary of Product Characteristics Special Health Authority (administers health to the whole of England, e.g. NICE, NPSA)
STEM Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (core educational skills for careers in the pharmaceutical industry)


TAR Technology assessment report
TEG Topic expert group
TRIPs Agreement on trade related aspects of Intellectual Policy rights
TTC Therapeutics and Toxicology Centre (Cardiff)


UKCRC UK Clinical Research Collaboration
UKCRN UK Clinical Research Network
UKMi UK Medicines Information
UVIG UK Vaccines Industry Group


VBP Value-based pricing


WDL Wholesalers Dealers Licence
WeMeReC Welsh Medicines Resource Centre
WHO World Health Organization
WHSSC Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee
WMIC Welsh Medicines Information Centre
WMP Welsh Medicines Partnership
WTO World Trade Organization


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