The King's Fund house style: N

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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
note, for not of

NHS England
no acronym

NHS five year forward view
Use NHS five year forward view at the first mention and then Forward View
Full reference for the Forward View:
NHS England, Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, Monitor, NHS Trust Development Authority, Public Health England (2014). NHS five year forward view [online]. London: NHS England. Available at: (accessed on xx Xxxxxx 2015).

non-discriminatory language
If in doubt, ask the people or group concerned how they would like to be referred to. Refer to someone's ethnic origin, disability gender, mental health or sexuality only if it's strictly relevant to the context. Never refer to people as 'normal'.

Disability - refer to:

  • 'people with disabilities' or 'people with mobility problems' rather than 'the disabled'.
  • 'able-bodied' not 'normal'.
  • 'people who are blind' or 'people who have sight problems' or 'people who are partially sighted' not 'the blind'.
  • 'Deaf people' or the 'Deaf Community' (note: upper case 'D') rather than 'the deaf'.

Ethnic origin – everyone has an ethnic origin and identity. Care should be taken with terms used, which should relate to the census categories, which are used for 'ethnic monitoring' across the NHS and elsewhere. The categories are:

White – includes British, Irish and 'other' – such as Polish

Asian – Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and 'others' – such as Tamil, or sub-regions such as Kashmir and Mirpur

Black – Caribbean, African and 'other'

Chinese and other.

The term 'black and minority ethnic (BME)' refers to all people who would not classify themselves as 'white British'. Use 'black and minority ethnic' or refer to their specific group if known: African, African-Caribbean (not Afro-Caribbean), Bengali, Chinese and so on.


  • Use suitable gender non-specific terms where possible, eg, 'chair' rather than 'chairman/-woman', 'firefighter' rather than 'fireman', 'postal worker' rather than 'postman/-woman'.
  • Don’t refer to a woman’s marital status, pregnancy or children (eg, 'Mary, mother of three') unless it’s relevant.
  • If you don’t know the gender, refer to 'they' or 'their' rather than 'he', 'he/she', 'he or she', and so on, eg, 'If the editor notices a spelling error, they must correct it.'


  • Someone who has the human immunodeficiency virus is HIV positive.
  • However, use a hyphen when HIV is adjectival, eg, an HIV-positive woman.
  • It’s not necessary to spell out HIV or AIDS in full.
  • HIV/AIDS are usually presented together, eg, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, except when you’re referring specifically to the HIV virus or AIDS, its related illnesses.
  • Don’t use full-blown AIDS – AIDS is sufficient.
  • Refer to people with AIDS, rather than AIDS sufferers, AIDS victims, etc.

Mental health
Use 'people with mental health issues' or 'people experiencing mental distress' rather than 'victims' or 'sufferers of', or 'people suffering from', mental illness.

Use gay and lesbian rather than homosexual. For plural, use gay men (not gays) and lesbians. Gay can refer to men and women together (eg, gay rights) but gay men and lesbians is preferable to gay people. The term gay doesn’t include transgender and bisexual people, whom you should refer to specifically.

no one
not no-one

takes singular verb


  • Use commas in figures of four figures or more (1,000, 15,000) and a further comma after millions (1,234,567). However, millions and billions will usually be written as 2.4 million/3.7 billion.
  • Spell out numbers one to nine. Write 10 onwards as numerals, unless the number comes at the beginning of a sentence (although it’s best to reorder the sentence to avoid this). If a sentence includes a mix of numbers, use a consistent style – ‘The relevant sections were 7, 13, 14 and 17’ or ‘The relevant sections were two, five and eleven.’
  • Hyphenate numbers from 21 to 99 when they are spelt out: eg, eighty-seven, twenty-six or two hundred and sixty-five.
  • Use numerals in:
    • figures, tables and measurements (5km)
    • percentages (2 per cent)
    • currency (US$6)
    • before the words million or billion (5.5 million, 1 billion)
    • ages (6-year-old girl)

Note: only use the per cent sign (%) in tables and figures – otherwise, spell it out in full, with a space between per and cent.

Use the following style for ranges: 11–12, 105–6, 1764–98 but 1764–1810, 9.45–10.00am.