Industry Facts

Five facts about the NHS

  1. The NHS was established on 5 July 1948 in the UK, making Britain the first Western country to found a ‘free at the point of use’ medical system for the entire population. July 2023 marked 75 years since its creation, and the NHS continues to serve as a major part of British healthcare.1
  2. The NHS’s funding comes from the Department for Health and Social Care, with the department spending £190bn in 2021/22. This funded various health and care provisions, such as GPs, ambulances, mental health services, and community and hospital services, all of which are commissioned by the NHS. Some of this funding is also spent on public health and social care services, predominantly commissioned by local authorities.2
  3. As of November 2022, the NHS employs approximately 1.26 million full-time equivalent staff in England alone ‒ this makes it one of the world’s largest employers. In 2021/22, the total cost of NHS staff equalled £66.2bn, or around 45.2% of the NHS budget.2
  4. As of November 2022, there were 132,900 doctors, 250,600 nursing staff (including health visitors and midwives) and 36,600 managers working in the NHS. 2 However, vacancy statistics suggest that there are an estimated 124,000 vacancies within the NHS, including for 8,700 medical professionals and 43,600 nursing staff.2
  5. In October 2020, the NHS became the first health system worldwide to commit to becoming carbon net zero. 3 It aims to be net zero by 2040 for emissions it controls directly and entirely net zero by 2045, including emissions it has the ability to influence.4