No matter what area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a talented, passionate team of people committed to providing the best care and treatment to patients. You will also enjoy one of the most competitive and flexible benefits packages offered by any employer in the UK.

The NHS was officially opened by Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan on 5 July 1948, at Park Hospital  in Manchester. This unveiling marked the day that by law all UK residents were given the right to access health services offered by doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists without having to pay.

The National Health Service (NHS) is now one of the largest employers in the world, and is the biggest in Europe, with over 1.3 million staff.

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

Over recent years there have been changes to the way the NHS is structured and works. These 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).

The NHS is a complex system, which can sometimes make it difficult to understand – especially working out who is responsible for what. It’s made up of a wide range of different organisations with different roles, responsibilities and specialities. These organisations provide a variety of services and support to patients and carers. 

See the diagram below to better understand how the funding flows through these services and how they link together (click on the link below to view the full animation):

How funding flows in the NHS April 2020

You can find out more about the NHS structure in England and who does what by visiting the NHS website. The King’s Fund has also produced a short animation which further explains how the NHS works in England.

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