In England, the Secretary of State for Health has overall responsibility for the Department of Health, which leads policies for health and care in England.
NHS England is a statutory arms-length body, mandated by the Department of Health to set the priorities and direction of the NHS, and directly commissions primary care services such as GPs, pharmacists and dentists, and some other specialised services. Its current strategy is the Five Year Forward View, developed in collaboration with the other national arms-length bodies responsible for the NHS.
The other statutory national arms-length bodies are:
- UK Health Security Agency and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, with responsibility for public health,
- NHS Improvement, responsible for overseeing providers of NHS-funded care and,
- Health Education England, responsible for education, training and development of the healthcare workforce.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) replaced primary care trusts (PCTs) in 2013. CCGs are statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services for their local area. There are 211 CCGs in England.
Though not statutory, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) will be key to shaping future health and care services, producing area based plans for health and social care. The partnerships bring together NHS providers, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities and other health and care services.
Further information about how the NHS in Scotland operates can be found at:
Key health organisations in Scotland
- Scottish Government (Health and Social Care)
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- NHS Health Scotland
- Scotland’s Health on the Web
The Health and Social Care delivery plan sets the framework and actions needed to ensure that health and social care services are fit to meet the challenges of a changing society in Scotland.
- The Welsh National Health Service (NHS Wales) is managed by the Welsh Government and is made up of seven local health boards and three national NHS trusts. Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) is also part of the Welsh NHS family, established in 2018 as the only Special Health Authority in Wales. HEIW is responsible for leading on education, training, development and shaping of the healthcare workforce in Wales.
Further information on Health and Social Services can be found at:
In June 2018, Welsh Government published its 10-year plan ‘A Healthier Wales – Our Plan for Health and Social Care’. This was their response to the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales ‘A Revolution from Within: Transforming Health and Care in Wales’ published in January 2018.
Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland is administered by the Northern Ireland Executive through its Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety. The Health and Social Care Board holds overall responsibility for commissioning services through five Local Commissioning Groups.
Key health organisation in Northern Ireland
Making life better: a whole system strategic framework for public health is the ten year public health strategic framework for public health. It is designed to provide direction for policies and actions to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Northern Ireland and to reduce health inequalities.