Naming

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.

You must ensure that the name of your strategic health authority (SHA) is written out in full – without the use of acronyms or abbreviations.

The names of all strategic health authorities follow a consistent format. They should contain a geographical reference so that patients and the public know where the organisation is based. You can find more guidance on the NHS logotype pages.

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 approved the Department of Health branding team will provide you with your new NHS logotype free of charge.

Last updated: 10/07/08