The NHS System
The NHS was formed in 1948 and has changed a lot since then. Healthcare under the NHS is free at the point of care, although there are some costs such as prescriptions, eye care and dental care.
The NHS system is very complicated and starts right at the top with the Secretary of State for Health who has overall responsibility for the work of the Department of Health.
The Department of Health strategically leads public health, the NHS and social care in England. It is also responsible for funding. It is a ministerial department supported by many agencies and public bodies, which is why it is such a complex system.
The Department of Health oversees NHS England, Public Health England, NHS Improvement, Healthwatch England and Local Healthwatch, the Care Quality Commission, NICE, NHS Digital and Health Education England.
For more information about the structure of the NHS System go here:
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The Health Research Authority (HRA) protects and promotes the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe.