Structure & funding of the NHS

The NHS was launched in 1948 by Aneurin Bevan MP, and since that date it has grown to become the worlds largest, most successful and efficient publicly funded health service.

When the NHS was launched it was based on three core principles;

  • That it meet the needs of everyone
  • That it be free at the point of delivery
  • That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

The NHS Constitution, which was published by the Department of Health in March 2011, sets out the principles of the NHS and the rights of a NHS patient.  The seven key principles are;

  • The NHS provides a comprehensive service available to all
  • Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay
  • The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism
  • The NHS aspires to put patients at the heart of everything it does
  • The NHS works across organisational boundaries and in partnership with other organisations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wide population
  • The NHS is committed to providing best value for taxpayers’ money and the most effective, fair and sustainable use of finite resources
  • The NHS is accountable to the public, communities and patients that it serves

As of 1 April 2013 the NHS started to undergo rather big changes.

Changes included the abolition of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), which have been replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Healthwatch England.

The CCGs commission the majority of hospital and community NHS services in their local areas.  They are responsible for deciding what services are needed and ensuring these services are provided.

CCGs are overseen by NHS England, which continues to have responsibility for primary care services such as GP and dental services.

To find your CCG follow the link:

NHS funding comes directly from taxation, which is granted to the Department of Health by Parliament.

With the exception of some charges, such as prescriptions, dental and optical services, the NHS is a free service for anyone who is a resident in the UK.

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