National Health Service

Publicly-funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom

The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly-funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948 it has been funded out of general taxation. It is made up of the four separate systems of the four countries of the United Kingdom: NHS England, NHS Scotland, NHS Wales, and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland. They were established together in 1948 as one of the major social reforms following the Second World War. The founding principles were that services should be comprehensive, universal and free at the point of delivery. Each service provides a comprehensive range of health services, free at the point of use for people ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, apart from dental treatment and optical care. In England, NHS patients have to pay prescription charges with a range of exemptions from these charges.

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