England - The National Health Service (NHS)


The National Health Service, more commonly known as the NHS, is one of the largest health services in the world to be funded by the public. It was established in 1948, when the ongoing need for good-quality healthcare to be available to everyone, not only those that could afford it, arose in a major way. This was in response to World War II, and was part of the initiative to rehabilitate the country, restoring quality of life to its residents after years of trauma and tragedy. It was the responsibility of Clement Attlee's Labour Government to create the NHS, which was introduced by Aneurin Bevan (the newly appointed Secretary of State for Health).

Today, the NHS and its services remain free for the most part, enforcing its original aim to provide healthcare to all, regardless of their financial status. There are, however, cost for certain of its prescriptions, and some of its optical and dental services.

The NHS provides free medical care to all resident of England, which is a population of well over 60 million people. It is funded by national taxes taken from the whole of the United Kingdom (which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). However, each of these areas is managed independently of the others. Still, a member of any one of these countries is free to visit the NHS of another country and receive the same quality and calibre of treatment as they would in their homeland.

Its services include:

• Hospitals
• General practitioners
• Chemists / Pharmacies
• Optometrists
• Dentists
• Care workers
• Alcohol addiction support
• Alzheimer's support
• Arthritis support
• Asthma clinics
• Autism support services
• Bereavement support services
• Cancer support
• Dementia support
• Diabetes support
• Drug addiction support
• Eating disorder support
• Emotional support
• End of life care and hospices
• Foot health
• Head injury support
• Hearing impairment and deaf support
• Heart disease support
• HIV support
• Injury support
• Local Involvement Networks
• Maternity units
• Migraine and Headache clinics
• Multiple Sclerosis support
• Parenting & Childcare Parkinson's disease support
• Psychological Therapy services
• Renal (kidney) units
• Sexual Assault Referral Centres
• Sexual health
• Sport and fitness
• Support for independent living
• Visual impairment support
• Weight Loss support

The NHS employs almost two million people, making it one of the largest employers in the world. These include about 120 000 hospital doctors, 40 000 general practitioners, 400 000 nurses and 25 000 ambulance staff. Incredibly, the NHS averages one million patients every 36 hours! That works out to about eight patients every second all across England.

The National Health Service in England is managed by the Department of Health and overseen by the Strategic Health Authorities (of which there are 10 throughout the country). Although its performance is not easy to measure, it should be noted that the mortality rate of infants has dropped and life expectancy has increased since the establishment of the NHS in the country.

The NHS continues to develop and expand, maintaining its core principles of providing comprehensive healthcare to all without charging (in the vast majority of cases and services).

Its main aims continue to be:

• To provide an array of different services designed to cater to the diverse population of England.
• To expand the company with the specific needs and desires of its patients in mind.
• To work at continuously improving services and products offered.
• To use funds responsibly and ethically.
• To strive to work against inequalities in the health system.
• To respect patient confidentiality.
• To provide open access to vital information for patients.


For more information, please view: http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx