This snapshot, taken on
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.
Department of Health Skip to content

Please note that this website has a UK government access keys system.

You are here:

DH glossary S - U

  • Last modified date:
    28 February 2008

Health and social care terms starting with letters S to U.

Select a section


Safeguarding children

A review report carried out once every three years by all relevant chief inspectors to assess how well children are being cared for.


See Single assessment process.

School fruit and vegetable scheme

Scheme that entitles all four to six year old children in LEA maintained infant, primary and special schools to one free fruit or vegetable each school day.

Secondary care

The collective term for services to which a patient is referred to by a consultant. Usually this refers to NHS hospitals in the NHS offering specialised medical services and care.

Secondary prevention

The medical methods used to limit the progression and effect of a disease at as early a stage as possible.

Secretary of State (SofS)

The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the Department and its ministerial team.

Section 64

Section 64 General Scheme grants are made to voluntary organisations in England whose activities support DH’s policy priorities.

Self directed support

Support services that help give people with a disability the confidence and wellbeing to live independently, and become an active member of the community.

Service users

Anyone who uses, requests, applies for or benefits from health or local authority services.

Sexually transmitted infections

See STIs.


See Social Exclusion Unit.

SFE (Statement of Financial Entitlements)

The payments that are made by primary care trusts (PCTs) to a contractor under a General Medical Services (GMS) contract.


See Strategic health authority.

Shifting the balance of power

Initiative that gave greater authority and decision making power to patients and frontline staff.

Single assessment process (SAP)

Process that ensures older people’s care needs are assessed thoroughly and accurately.

Single Equality Scheme

Scheme that represents the Department of Health’s public commitment to meet the duties placed on it by equality legislation.

Skills for Care

Initiative that helps to strategically develop the social care workforce, by supporting employers to improve standards of care through training and development, and workforce planning.

Skills for Health

Initiative that helps to create a skilled and flexible healthcare workforce.

Small change, big difference

Campaign that encourages people to make minor changes in their lifestyles to give them a better chance of living longer, healthier lives.

Social care

The range of services that support the most vulnerable people in society to carry on in their daily lives.

Social enterprise

Businesses with primarily social objectives that reinvest their profits into the community.

Social exclusion

The process that can take place when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown.

Social marketing

The use of marketing theory, skills and practice to promote change in health behaviour.


See Secretary of State.

SOL (Solicitor’s Office)

Offices that provides legal advice to Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and DH. SOL’s C Division provides legal advice to DH across the full range of policy areas covered by the Department.

Spearhead Primary Care Trusts

PCTs that operate in the areas with the worst health and deprivation in England.

Special health authorities

Independent health authorities that provide a service to the public. Examples include, NHS Direct and the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA).


DH has a wide range of stakeholders that all share an interest in its work, including patients and the public, local and regional NHS organisations, local authorities and social care providers, charities, and the voluntary and community sector.

Standards for better health

The core and developmental standards covering health care provided for NHS patients.

Statement of Financial Entitlements

See SFE.

Statutory instruments (SIs)

Secondary or subordinate legislation that normally consists of an order, regulations, rules or a scheme.

Step down care

Care facilities that are outside acute hospitals, which enable people who strongly value their independence to leave acute hospital and to return home.

STIs (Sexually transmitted infections)

Infections such as chlamydia that are caught as a result of unprotected sexual intercourse.

Strategic health authority (SHA)

The local headquarters of the NHS, responsible for ensuring that national priorities are integrated into local plans, and that primary care trusts (PCTs) are performing well.

Substance misuse

The misuse of illegal drugs and legal pharmaceuticals.

Supplementary prescribing

The training of nurses, pharmacists and allied health professions so that they can prescribe patients certain medicines.

Supporting people

Grant programme that provides local housing related support to services to help vulnerable people live independently at home.

Sure Start

Cross government programme that helps children and parents, through increased availability to childcare, and improved health and emotional development for young people.


Tariff unbundling

Process that breaks a tariff down into several stages of procedure. An example of this would be Payment by results


A combination of equipment and monitoring that helps individuals to remain independent at home.


See telecare.

Tertiary care

A more specialised health service that does not have a centre in every Strategic Health Authority (SHA) area. They are often provided by specialised hospitals or departments that are usually linked to medical schools or teaching hospitals. They treat patients with complex conditions who have usually been referred by other specialists.

Third sector

Non public private organisations that are motivated by a desire to further social, environmental or cultural objectives rather than to make a profit.

Treatment centres

Centres that offer safe, fast, pre booked day and short stay surgery and diagnostic procedures in areas of treatment that have traditionally had the longest waiting times.


Universal services

Services provided for the whole community, including education and health, housing, leisure facilities and transport.


See service user.

Additional links

Access keys