Key facts and figures about the National Health Service in the UK

Here are some key facts about the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK:

  • Universal Healthcare: The NHS provides healthcare services to all residents of the UK, regardless of their ability to pay. It is funded through general taxation, ensuring that healthcare is accessible to everyone.
  • Largest Public Healthcare System: The NHS is one of the largest and oldest publicly funded healthcare systems in the world. It was established in 1948 and covers England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: The NHS offers a wide range of healthcare services, including primary care, hospital care, mental health services, emergency care, and specialized treatments. It aims to provide comprehensive care from prevention to treatment.
  • Free at the Point of Use: Most NHS services are free at the point of use, meaning patients do not have to pay for consultations, diagnostic tests, or hospital stays. However, there may be charges for certain services like prescription medications and dental care.
  • Primary Care as a Gateway: General Practitioners (GPs) act as the primary point of contact for patients, providing primary care services and referring them to specialized care when needed. GPs play a crucial role in coordinating healthcare and managing chronic conditions.
  • High-Quality Care: The NHS strives to deliver high-quality care to patients. It follows evidence-based practices, adopts clinical guidelines, and prioritizes patient safety. The NHS also invests in research and innovation to improve healthcare outcomes.
  • Workforce: The NHS employs a large and diverse workforce, including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, scientists, and support staff. It relies on the dedication and expertise of these professionals to deliver healthcare services.
  • Financial Challenges: The NHS faces financial challenges due to increasing healthcare demands, an aging population, and technological advancements. Funding constraints can put pressure on resources and impact service delivery.
  • Public Satisfaction: Despite challenges, the NHS generally enjoys high levels of public satisfaction. It is regarded as a cornerstone of British society and is often a source of national pride.
  • Continuous Improvement: The NHS is committed to continuous improvement and strives to adapt to changing healthcare needs. It undergoes reforms, invests in digital technology, and promotes initiatives to enhance patient experience and outcomes.

These key facts highlight the fundamental principles, scope, and challenges associated with the NHS, demonstrating its importance in providing healthcare services to the population of the UK.

Figures:

How much is spent on health and care?
In 2021/22 the Department for Health and Social Care spent £283 billion.
Source: The Office for National Statistics

How many NHS hospitals are there in England?
All NHS hospitals are managed by acute, mental health, specialist or community trusts and as of 2022 there were 215 trusts, including 10 ambulance trusts. However, the number of NHS trusts does not correlate to the number of hospitals as many trusts run more than one hospital, for example, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust runs 10 acute and specialist hospitals.

How many registered doctors and nurses are there in the NHS in England?
360,381 (2023, Source: GMC)
704,520 (March 2022, Source: NMC)

On an Average day in the NHS

  • More than 1.2 million people would attend a GP appointment
  • Nearly 260,000 people would attend an outpatient appointment
  • More than 37,000 people would call 999
  • More than 44,000 people would attend a major A&E department, and about 25 per cent of A&E patients would be admitted into hospital
  • Around 675 patients would go into critical care.

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