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Tone of voice

The quality of your written communications affects both the reputation of your NHS organisation, partnership or service and people’s confidence in it.

NHS written communications should support and uphold the principles and values set out in the NHS Constitution. They should be clear, concise, straightforward, honest, open, professional, respectful and accessible.

If you are writing to patients and the public, make sure your style is both personal and direct. Your written communication should be capable of being spoken out loud and sound as if it is being addressed to an individual.

When communicating about difficult subjects, your tone should communicate genuine understanding and respect. The listener or reader should feel empowered and informed.

If you are writing about complex subjects, use words which are as simple and accessible as possible. Avoid jargon, acronyms and unnecessary technical language.

The Plain English Campaign provides information and advice on writing clear, concise public information. Visit the Plain English Campaign website for more details.