How the NHS works

The NHS is an increasingly complex system - The Health and Social Care Act 2012 led to one of the greatest re-organisations of the NHS since its creation in the 1940s.

An example of part of this re-organisation is the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to deliver NHS services in local areas. These are designed to give GPs and other clinicians the power to influence which services are brought in (commissioned) in their area, in line with what their patients need.

Finding your way through the maze of organisations that now exist within, or are linked to, the NHS can be confusing at the best of times. This can be even more the case if you are undergoing the shock and possible cognitive effects of being diagnosed with, and treated for, a brain tumour.

The animation below aims to explain the structures of the NHS. By understanding how the NHS works and your place within it, you may feel more confident in engaging with and, if necessary, challenging the system.

Devolved health systems

Since 1999, devolution to Scotland and Wales, and the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, has seen health policy and the way the NHS is run diverge in the four countries of the United Kingdom. There is divergence in structures and management approaches, and also a difference in the way social care relates to health in the four countries.

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