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Terminology imageThere are different types of networks and different names for them (MCP, PACS), different names for the same networked model (franchise, service chain) and different ways of describing different parts of a network. Language is important, not only so that everyone, especially patients, understands the type of network, but also so that all parts of a network feel equally valued.

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  • Different models are not described consistently. Moorfields’ model has been described variously as a service-level chain, franchising and networking.
  • Terminology within vanguards also varies according to how organisations are working together within it and the sort of contract they have.
  • The terms used for different parts of a network are also important. Labels like “outposts”, “outreach” and even “satellites” can make people who work at those sites feel that the senior leadership places more value on the centre than on other parts of the network. Asking staff in all parts of the network for their views will be a first step to developing terminology which enables everyone to feel equally valued.
  • The toolkit working definition of networked care is when a single organisation is responsible for delivering care across multiple sites.
  • It is important to remember that the patients and the wider public can be easily confused by NHS terminology. Service developments should be described in plain, jargon-free English and always focus on how they will improve the patient experience.

“England is too diverse for a ‘one size fits all’ care model to apply everywhere. But nor is the answer simply to let ‘a thousand flowers bloom’. Different local health communities will instead be supported by the NHS’ national leadership to choose from amongst a small number of radical new care delivery options, and then given the resources and support to implement them where that makes sense. “

NHS England (2014) Five Year Forward View

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