Medical Terms Explained

Many of us see the terms illness, disease, disorder, syndrome and condition as interchangeable. We often say “disease” when referring to a disorder or syndrome. However, when it comes to healthcare, it’s important to know the distinction.

Problems in the structure or function of the body, causing specific symptoms. This must be measurable and recognisable to healthcare staff.

Any disruption in the body’s structure or function. We can use “disorder” when there is not enough evidence to make a diagnosis.

A group of symptoms assumed to have the same cause. Knowing the syndrome is essential before diagnosing a disease.

This describes the state of a person’s health. For example “stable” or “critical” condition.

A Hierarchy of Terms
It all begins with symptoms. When we have a specific group of symptoms at the same time, this is known as a syndrome. Healthcare staff consider your syndrome and your overall health and determine the disorder. Finally, once we know the cause of the disorder, we can diagnose a disease. The process, from first noticing a symptom to receiving a disease diagnosis, can take years.
The term illness can be used at any point. A person can say they are ill when experiencing one symptom, and when they have received a diagnosis. This state does not change unless they recover.

Advantage Accreditation offers a wide range of accredited learning materials. Our accredited centres use these to train their staff and external learners. If you are interested in becoming a training centre, please get in touch.

Which Cosmetic Treatments Require a Licence?

The government has introduced new legislation requiring those providing cosmetic treatments to have a licence. Please note this legislation is not yet enforced.

If you work in beauty and cosmetics, reading through the Health and Social Care Act 2022 may not be on your to-do list. However, there is a clause that directly affects you. The Act states the need to “licence those providing non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as those involving injection or application of a substance, insertion of needles into the skin, insertion of thread under the skin, or application of light, electricity, cold or heat.”

If any of those treatments sound familiar, here’s what you need to know:

While you may have completed training and taken all necessary precautions in your work, this was not required by law. In 2020, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Institute of Licensing found that there was a serious need to regulate cosmetic treatments. These regulations are intended to protect the public from harm. If cosmetic treatments are carried out incorrectly, or in unsafe settings, the customer is at risk of serious harm.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2022, specific cosmetic procedures are prohibited without a licence. These procedures include:
– Anti-wrinkle injections
– Dermal fillers
– HIFU facials
– Microneedling
– Chemical peels
– Phototherapy
– Plasma injections

Any treatment that involves injections, threads under the skin, application of a substance that penetrates the skin, and applications of light, electricity, cold or heat will soon require a licence.

At Advantage Accreditation, we keep on top of updates like this to make sure your training materials are correct. If you are interested in becoming a CPD accredited trainer or training centre, please get in touch.

Oliver McGowan’s Story

Appeals from the family of Oliver McGowan have led to new mandatory training in learning disability and autism.

As an infant, Oliver suffered meningitis and received diagnoses of mild hemiplegia, focal partial epilepsy, a mild learning disability and high functioning autism. Throughout his childhood, Oliver developed a good sense of humour and aspirations for the future. As a teenager, with several sporting accomplishments under his belt, Oliver began to train as a Paralympian.

Oliver was admitted to a children’s hospital in October 2015. He was experiencing partial focal seizures and felt scared and confused. He was discharged after a few weeks and given antidepressants. His seizures worsened and he was readmitted that December. Despite having no diagnosis of mental illness or psychosis, he was given antipsychotic medication and held against his will. This had a hugely negative impact on his mood. Doctors noted he was sensitive to antipsychotics. After the removal of the medication, his mood and seizure activity returned to normal.

In April 2016, Oliver was admitted again with partial seizures. He was given antipsychotics again. He suffered an Oculogyric Crisis causing his eyes to roll upwards and stay there. After 6 hours, during which the doctor believed his symptoms were behavioural, he was eventually given Procyclidine to counteract the reaction. Oliver suffered other potential side effects including hallucinations, up to 30 seizures a day, problems urinating, extremely high blood pressure and sweating. Oliver was moved to a specialist adult hospital. Staff restrained him, gave him no privacy and prescribed different antipsychotic medication.

Oliver was then transferred to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. Here, staff immediately saw he did not need to be detained and they reduced all antipsychotic medications. He received support from a specialist learning disability team.

That October, Oliver experienced a cluster of partial seizures and was admitted to general hospital. He developed pneumonia and was intubated. Staff sedated him and gave him antipsychotic medication. Oliver’s temperature reached 42°. He suffered tonic-clonic seizures. His brain was badly swollen. He would be severely disabled. Doctors suspected neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a life-threatening reaction to antipsychotic medication.

After a week on life support, Oliver died on 11th November 2016. He was 18 years old.

The McGowan family strongly believe the hospital staff are to blame for Oliver’s death, especially those who prescribed antipsychotics after his previous bad reactions. They believe staff did not make reasonable adjustments to accommodate for the needs of someone with a learning disability and autism. The family have campaigned for years to see improvements made in healthcare.

Their hard work has paid off. The Health and Care Act 2022 has written the Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training in Learning Disability and Autism into law. This is a standardised training package developed by Health Education England and Skills for Care. The training was designed, delivered and evaluated with the help of people with learning disabilities and autism.

In trials across the UK, researchers have seen positive results. 61-88% of learners reported changing their behaviours after the training. 80-94% said the training provided new information, helped them recognise unconscious bias, made them aware of the needs of autistic people in healthcare settings, and gave them new ideas about how to support autistic people.

We are happy to see these results as this training can prevent further deaths. We applaud the McGowan family for their dedication to changing our healthcare system and hope they are comforted by this result.

High quality training courses are absolutely vital, especially in health and care settings. If you share our passion for training and would like to become an accredited centre, please get in touch.

You can find out more about Oliver McGowan and his family’s work at