A to Z of terms
The A to Z guide covers style, spelling and grammar conventions for all content published on HSE.ie.
Not acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Not alcohol abuse
Plural; a bacterium is one of them but
One word, no hyphen
An unpaid family member, partner or friend who helps a disabled, ill or older person with the activities of daily living. Do not use it to describe someone who works in a caring job or profession – for that use careworker or their professional title, for
Use the lower case except where they start with a name. For example, cancer of the colon, multiple sclerosis, but Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease.
CT scan (computerised tomography scan), then use ‘CT scan’ for subsequent mentions. Also known as CAT scan (computerised axial tomography) – we use CT scan.
dependent or dependant
As an adjective; serving to identify a particular disease. As a noun; the practice of medical diagnosis or a technique used in diagnosis
Use GP, not doctor, for
See medicines. When you talk about drugs, ensure the context makes clear whether you mean legal or illegal ones.
Not drug abuse
The preferred term is people who use drugs
health professionals, healthcare professionals
People who work in identifying, preventing or treating illness or disability. Avoid where possible and instead use a term that describes what the people do – GPs, nurses.
Refer to the Health Service Executive as ‘the HSE’ (for example, ‘You can apply for a job at the HSE’)
This is the name of the HSE website (for example, ‘Find out how to get a medical card on HSE.ie’)
Generally, use the generic (scientific name) first followed by the brand name with an initial cap and in brackets, for
Some medicines are better-known by their brand names than their generic names. In that case, use the generic name in brackets – for example, Viagra (sildenafil). Once medicines have lost their patent protection, there may be rival branded generics that have a brand name and ordinary generics that use just the generic name. Some might have several brand names. For example, the asthma drug salbutamol has Airomir, Asmasal and Ventolin brand names as well as the generic name. In cases such as this give the best-known brand name (tested using keyword research), but indicate there are several – salbutamol (brand names include Ventolin).
Some medicines have no brand names in use – examples include warfarin and hydrocortisone.
people who use the HSE (see patients, service users)
There is no single term for people who use the HSE. What you call them depends on which part of the HSE they are using. Normally on
% in titles and copy
Lower case, not Service User
Lower case, spina bifida. See also hydrocephalus
Not substance abuse
Died by suicide, not committed suicide
Lower case, symphysiotomy