The NHS is an exciting and challenging place to work.
The NHS was established by the NHS Act 1946 and was launched and has treated patients since 1948
The NHS is also Europe's largest employer with over 1.7 million employees across the UK.
Although there have been many structural and policy developments since 1948, the underlying principles have not changed. These are that the NHS services are:
- available to everyone
- free at the point of need (or use)
- based on clinical need, not the ability to pay
All of the major political parties remain comitted to these core principles. Other enduring characteristics of the NHS are that:
- it is funded through taxation
- it manages within overall resource limits determined by the Government each year
- finite resources have to be matched with infinite demand for health services
- there is an expectation that "efficiency savings" can be made, often as a result of structural or technical developments
- there is intense political, public and media interest in, and scrutiny of, the NHS
Fundamental changes are leading to transformation of our NHS service, making the NHS even more responsive to the challenges of new technologies and our growing patient expectations (the UK population is living longer and our services are needed as much as ever). Whilst for the past several years the NHS has received extraordinary real terms growth, the global economic situation, change in government and pressures on public sector funding will result in challenges for the NHS in maintaining its services and reducing its costs.