National Health Service (NHS)

Definition - What does National Health Service (NHS) mean?

The National Health Service (NHS) is the organization that oversees and carries out all public health services within the territories of England, Scotland, and Wales. Established following World War II, it remains the most comprehensive, universal, and affordable health services option available to residents in the United Kingdom.

As one of the world's largest publicly funded health services, it covers the broad range of sectors listed below:

  • Antenatal screening
  • Routine screenings (such as the NHS Health Check)
  • Treatments for long-term conditions
  • Transplants
  • Emergency treatment
  • End-of-life care

Funded directly by taxation, the NHS is ranked as the best system in terms of efficiency, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centered care, and cost-related problems. It is ranked as the second best for equity in comparison with the healthcare systems of 10 other countries.

Safeopedia explains National Health Service (NHS)

The National Health Service operates independently as the health service systems in the United Kingdom and is politically accountable to the relevant governments in England, Scotland, and Wales. Largely free and available to all residents, patients are not charged for medical treatment, with the exception of a fixed charge for prescriptions, dental treatment, and some surgical procedures.

The NHS employs around 1.6 million people and is 98.8 percent funded from general taxation and National Insurance contributions. A small amount comes from patient charges for some services. The NHS provides a comprehensive range of health services in the United Kingdom. In recent years, the list of available treatments has been expanded from the bulleted list above to include in-vitro fertilization, HIV prevention, and hormone therapy.

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