Understanding the new NHS
An online guide has been published for anyone undertaking research and trying to navigate their way around the new structures, or explaining to the public how the NHS fits together. Download the guide from the NHS England website (pdf)
This guide is for everyone working and training within the NHS*. Together we are the guardians of the NHS and it is us who will help to steer the NHS through the clinical and economic challenges of the next generation. These challenges are unprecedented in the history of the NHS: rising costs unmatched by funding, an ageing population with multiple chronic conditions, and a system that is not currently structured to meet modern standards of quality of care that surpass patients’ expectations.
For most healthcare professionals, training is focused solely on the provision of clinical care. Yet, for every interaction with a patient (and NHS staff have contact with more than 1.5 million patients and their families every day) there is a vital system of purchasing and planning, financing, and regulatory activity required to support it.
To truly effect change and improve the quality of care for our patients, we need to go beyond our clinical training, and learn to understand and engage with the organisations, systems and processes that define, sustain and regulate the NHS. This is no easy task; the NHS is an increasingly complex system, and finding your way through the maze can be confusing.
In reading this guide, we hope that the structures of the NHS, and your place within it, become a little clearer. With understanding comes the confidence to engage with and challenge the system, helping to improve our NHS for patients and staff, now and in future generations
* This guide mainly refers to the NHS in England, but we hope it will be of use to
colleagues in other countries.
Dr Felicity Taylor
Dr Salman Gauher
Dr Leann Johnson
Dr Rachael Brock
Dr Marc Wittenberg
NHS England National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows 2013/14