Introductory guide to NHS finance

We are grateful for the support of One NHS Finance in enabling this guide to be made available to everyone, free of charge.

Access the guide for free

The guide has been produced with the support of One NHS Finance. It is freely available online.

What is the introductory guide to NHS finance?

The HFMA’s introductory guide to NHS finance is a comprehensive guide of how the NHS finance regime works, as well as the wider landscape in which it operates. It is designed to give readers a solid grounding in – and practical understanding of – all key aspects of NHS finance and will provide contextual background that helps explain how the NHS has developed over the years.

The guide is a vital resource for anyone who wants to understand NHS finance and get the maximum value from NHS resources. It will be of interest to finance staff at all levels, non-executive directors, clinicians, budget holders and general managers. Indeed, anybody who wants to know more about how money works in the NHS; be they at the beginning of their career, moving to a new role, or just interested to understand the impact of recent changes.

A full list of chapters can be found below.

The guide has been produced with the support of One NHS Finance. It is freely available online.

What's new?

The guide has been updated to reflect policy and organisational changes that have taken place since the previous edition.

This edition also includes updates relating to: the spring budget 2024, 2024/25 planning guidance, financial sustainability, the HFMA updated audit committee handbook and a re-designed chapter 2 on the structure and development of the NHS.

Each chapter includes links and references to the key documents as well as to the latest issued guidance and directions. The closing chapter includes a comprehensive glossary of terms.

The HFMA is looking to continually improve and develop the guide, and if you have any comments, the HFMA team would like to hear from you – please email: [email protected].

How do I access the guide?

The guide is freely available as an electronic document online.

Unlike previous editions, the guide is not available as a printed publication. We have taken this approach to increase the availability of the guide and reduce the environmental impact of production/distribution.