Standard article format

Guidance on how to structure a standard article

About the standard article format

This page provides guidance on how to structure a standard article on NHS inform. This can be applied to general topics like an illness or condition.

Some articles will not follow this structure. For example the page ‘Health advice during public holidays’ will need unique headings.

The general sub-headers for an article are:

  • ‘[X] self-help guide’
  • ‘Symptoms of [X]’
  • ‘Diagnosing [X]’
  • ‘Treatment for [X]’
  • ‘Causes of [X]’
  • ‘Preventing [X]’
  • ‘Complications of [X]’

Introduction

In an article about an illness or condition the introduction should include:

  • what the illness is – for example if it’s an infection or a long term condition
  • other names it may have
  • how long it takes to improve or clear (by itself or with treatment)

Self-help guide

Self-help guides should be structured as:

[X] self-help guide

Complete our self-help guide to check your symptoms and find out what to do next.

Embed self-help guide if available.

Example:

Symptoms

You should use ‘Symptoms of [X]’ as the header for a section on symptoms.

Add ‘When to get medical advice’ as a sub-header followed by any care cards.

Care cards should be listed in order of urgency from most to least urgent. These should be titled:

  • ‘Phone 999 if:’ (emergency care card)
  • ‘Phone 111 if:’ (urgent care card)
  • ‘Speak to your GP practice if:’ (non-urgent care card)

Further information on using care cards

Example:

Diagnosis

You should use ‘Diagnosing [X]’ as the header for a section on diagnosis.

Example:

Treatment

You should use ‘Treatment for [X]’ as the header for a section on treatments.

You can add sub-headers in this section like:

  • ‘Things you can do (to help your symptoms)’ – add Do or Don’t lists of self-care
  • ‘Treatment from a pharmacist’ – add an action link with ‘Find your local pharmacy’
  • ‘Treatments from a doctor’ – add other treatments with headings like medication or surgery

Example:

Causes

You should use ‘Causes of [X]’ as the header for a section on causes.

Example:

Prevention

You should use ‘Preventing [X]’ as the header for a section on prevention.

You can add a sub-header for a section on vaccines. For example ‘The [X] vaccine].

Example:

Complications

You should use ‘Complications of [X]’ as the header for a section on complications.

Example: