E-brochure IOW - 2021 - Catalog - Page 3
About the NHS
The NHS was launched in 1948, and was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be
available to all, regardless of wealth – one of the NHS's core principles.
With the exception of some charges, such as prescriptions, optical services and dental services, the
NHS in England remains free at the point of use for all UK residents. This currently stands at more than
64.6 million people in the UK and 54.3 million people in England alone.
The NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. It covers everything, including
antenatal screening, routine screenings with (such as the NHS Health Check), treatments for long-term
conditions, transplants, emergency treatment and end-of-life care.
In 2014, the Commonwealth Fund declared that in comparison with the healthcare systems of 10 other
countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland and the US) the NHS was the most impressive overall. The NHS was rated as the best system
in terms of efficiency, effective care, safe care, coordinated care and patient-centred care.
The NHS employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest
workforces. The NHS in England is the biggest part of the system by far, catering to a population of 54.3
million and employing around 1.2 million people. Of those, the clinically qualified staff include 150,273
doctors, 40,584 general practitioners (GPs), 314,966 nurses and health visitors, 18,862 ambulance staff,
and 111,127 hospital and community health
Funding for the NHS comes directly from taxation. Since the NHS transformation in 2013, the NHS
payment system has become underpinned by legislation. The Health & Social Care Act 2012 moves
responsibility for pricing from the Department of Health, to a shared responsibility for NHS England and
NHS Improvement. When the NHS was launched in 1948, it had a budget of £437 million (roughly £15
billion at today’s value). For 2015/16, the overall NHS budget was around £116.4 billion. NHS England is
managing £101.3 billion of this.