Naming your NHS organisation

The name of an organisation is a crucial part of its identity.
It is important that the names of all NHS organisations are comprehensible and clear. This is to enable patients and the public to identify our organisations and understand their roles.

When naming an NHS organisation, you must ensure that the chosen name:

  • is clear and descriptive – not conceptual or abstract;
  • is written out in full – without the use of acronyms or abbreviations;
  • contains a geographical reference.

The names of all NHS trusts should follow a consistent format to ensure NHS services are presented consistently to patients and the public. This applies to:

  • Acute trusts;
  • Ambulance trusts;
  • Care trusts;
  • Children’s trusts;
  • Mental health trusts; and
  • Teaching PCTs.

There may be exceptions, for example in the case of historic reasons predating the introduction of the single NHS corporate identity. This will be reviewed and decided on a case by case basis.

The names of NHS services

When naming an NHS service, you should follow the principles set out above. You should also consider what will make most sense to service users. Remember to avoid medical jargon and ensure that the chosen name is used consistently across signage, appointment letters and other communications materials. This will help to improve patient understanding of, and access to, services.

Name changes

If you are thinking of changing the name of your organisation, you should consider the following:

  • Your current name may be well known and well recognised; it could be costly and time-consuming to implement and raise awareness of a new name.
  • Will a name-change help you to achieve your objectives? A name can only do so much, and you may wish to consider other ways to market your organisation, such as raising awareness of your services and promoting your reputation.

You should also ensure that a new name does not clash with the names of other NHS organisations, as this could cause confusion.

If you do decide to go ahead with a name-change, you should contact the person in your organisation responsible for your Establishment Order and complete the NHS logotype order form.

Once the name-change has been endorsed by your Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and the Department of Health (DH), our branding team will provide you with your new NHS logotype free of charge.

Last updated: 20/01/12