National Health Service

Establishment and Structure of the NHS

  • The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom.
  • It comprises the National Health Service in England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales, and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland.
  • The original three systems were established in 1948, with NHS Wales founded in 1969.
  • The founding principles were that services should be comprehensive, universal, and free at the point of delivery.
  • Each service provides a comprehensive range of health services, provided without charge for people ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

Funding and Workforce of the NHS

  • The combined budget of the four services in 2015-16 was £136.7 billion.
  • The NHS employed around 1.6 million people in 2015-16.
  • The total health sector workforce across the United Kingdom in 2014 was 2,165,043, making it the fifth largest employer in the world.
  • The NHS has significant market power when purchasing consumables, influencing global prices.
  • Some countries rely on the UK's assessments for their own decisions on state-financed drug reimbursements.

History of the NHS

  • Calls for a unified medical service can be dated back to the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law in 1909.
  • The 1942 Beveridge Report recommended the creation of a comprehensive health service, leading to cross-party consensus.
  • Aneurin Bevan, as Health Minister, played a key role in shaping the NHS.
  • The NHS was proposed in Westminster legislation for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
  • The NHS was officially launched on July 5, 1948, with core principles of meeting the needs of everyone, being free at the point of delivery, and based on clinical need.

Eligibility for Treatment in the NHS

  • Everyone living in the UK can use the NHS without being asked to pay the full cost of the service.
  • NHS dentistry and optometry have standard charges in each of the four national health services.
  • Most patients in England have to pay charges for prescriptions, with exemptions for some patients.
  • The eligibility for treatment of overseas visitors has been a topic of debate.
  • Recent changes due to Brexit have affected the eligibility of EEA nationals.

Controversies and Cultural Impact of the NHS

  • The introduction of charges for dentures, dentists, and glasses led to the resignation of Aneurin Bevan and Harold Wilson.
  • Controversies over changes to the NHS have occurred throughout its history.
  • The NHS has been portrayed and debated in various forms of media, reflecting its place in British society.
  • The NHS had a prominent role in the 2012 London Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
  • The NHS is often described as an institution that unites the nation.

National Health Service Mentions

National Health Service Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph