Healthcare in the U.K. is, for the most part, provided by the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS provides healthcare for free at the point of use and is made available to all permanent residents of the United Kingdom. Of course, healthcare in the U.K. is considered a “devolved matter”. In other words, in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, it is left up to local jurisdictions as to how healthcare will be provided for its constituencies. But, in England, the NHS reigns supreme.
National Health Service (NHS):
The NHS provides basic healthcare in England including in-patient care, primary care, long-term care, and ophthalmology. While most charges associated with dental care, eye tests, and prescriptions are usually left up to the patient, some of these costs will be covered by the NHS.
Otherwise, the NHS covers doctor visits, surgical procedures, nursing services, medications, bandages, plasters, medical investigations, medical tests, x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, Hospital outpatient services, Inpatient services, and mental health services.
While it should be said that 92% of all health insurance costs in England are covered by the NHS, the private health insurance sector is still around and does provide some services—especially for those who are willing or able to pay for it.
The NHS Constitution for England
The NHS constitution lays out, in one document, the objective of the NHS for the country. It guarantees healthcare for all irrespective of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, religion, belief, gender reassignment, marital status, or maternity status. Also, the NHS Constitution pays particular attention to underprivileged groups in society—seeking to improve their position to an equal standing with the rest of the population. The constitution also vows to use tax payer money efficiently and for the betterment of the general populace.
General Medical Services (GMS)
The GMS is the range of healthcare and medical services provided by the NHS through General Practitioners. The NHS specifies exactly what the GPs are required to provide to the general public and pays for these services through what is know as the General Medical Services Contract. Services include regular check-ups and general family care.