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Trust Definitions

Acute care
Medical and surgical treatment usually provided by a hospital.

Acute Trust
An NHS body that provides medical and surgical services from one or more hospitals

Ambulance Trusts
Ambulance services are all NHS trusts or part of trusts and respond to 999 calls; doctor's urgent admission requests; high-dependency and urgent inter-hospital transfers and major incidents. Non-emergency patient transport is commissioned separately.

Care Trust
Care trusts were announced in the NHS Plan. They are NHS trusts that work in both health and social care. They can be established where NHS organisations and local authorities agree to work together and their actual functions are determined by this partnership. The role for the care trust is usually where it is felt that a closer integration between health and social care is needed or would be beneficial at a local level.

Mental Health Trust
A mental health trust provides treatment and care for patients who are mentally ill. The services may be provided from a hospital or in the community.

NHS Trusts
Hospital trusts are found in most large towns and cities, and usually offer a general range of services to meet most people's needs. Some trusts also act as regional or national centres of expertise for more specialised care, while some are attached to universities and help to train health professionals.

Trusts can also provide services in the community - for example through health centres, clinics or in people's homes.

Except in the case of emergencies, hospital treatment is arranged through your GP. This is called a referral. Appointments and treatment are free.

Together, NHS trusts employ the majority of the NHS workforce including nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, health visitors and staff from the professions allied to medicine, such as physiotherapists, radiographers, podiatrists, speech and language therapists, counsellors, occupational therapists and psychologists. Their many other staff include receptionists, porters, cleaners, IT specialists, managers, engineers, caterers, and domestic and security staff.

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)
PCTs are the cornerstone of the NHS, responsible for the planning and securing of health services and improving the health of the local population.

For example, PCTs must make sure there are enough GPs to provide for their population and that they are accessible to patients. PCTs must also ensure the provision of other health services including hospitals, dentists, mental health care, Walk-In Centres, NHS Direct, patient transport (including accident and emergency), population screening, pharmacies and opticians. In addition, they are responsible for integrating health and social care so the two systems work together for patients.

Strategic Health Authorities
Strategic Health Authorities are responsible for developing strategies for the local health services and ensuring high-quality performance. They manage the NHS locally and are a key link between the Department of Health and the NHS. They will also ensure that national priorities (such as programmes for improving cancer services) are integrated into local plans.


The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH)

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