The NHS provides a comprehensive health service to the public based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay. In England, there are 217 NHS providers of urgent and planned care (also referred to as 'secondary care').
The NHS is divided into primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care. Primary care is often the first point of contact for people in need of healthcare, usually provided by professionals such as GPs, dentists and pharmacists.
The NHS in England provides care, free at the point of use, for almost 56.4 million people.
Secondary care, which is sometimes referred to as 'hospital and community care', can either be planned (elective) care such as a cataract operation, or urgent and emergency care such as treatment for a fracture.Tertiary care refers to highly specialised treatment such as neurosurgery, transplants and secure forensic mental health services.
As of April 2020 there are 217 NHS providers of secondary and tertiary care – 147 foundation trusts and 70 NHS trusts. Other non-NHS organisations such as charities and private healthcare companies also provide secondary and tertiary care services.
Of the 217 NHS providers there are:
Every year NHS providers:
The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world.
The 217 NHS providers employ over 1.1 million people (full time equivalents, FTE), which makes the NHS one of the world's largest workforces alongside Walmart and the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
NHS providers employ over 117,000 doctors and almost 290,000 nurses and health visitors (FTE).
The total budget for the NHS in 2019/20 was £140.4bn.
NHS Providers is the single voice for this public sector, recognised for our effective lobbying and influence within government, as a promoter of shared learning, and as a provider of support and development for our members. We represent 100% of the NHS provider sector.