National Health Service (England)

National Health Service (England)

National Health Service (England)

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The National Health Service or NHS is the publicly-funded healthcare system in England.

The NHS is both the largest and oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. It is able to function in the way that it does because it is primarily funded through the general taxation system, similar to how the various fire departments, police departments, and primary schools are also funded. The system thus provides healthcare to anyone normally legally resident in England, and also any other part of the United Kingdom (should a person from another UK area be travelling in England, for example), with almost all services "free at the point of use" for all such people. "Free at the point of use" is the famous and oft-repeated wording contained in its core principles from the original NHS set-up, which are non-negotiable at their root but have variously been open to some interpretation over the years. Broadly speaking, in practice, "free at the point of use" means that anyone legitimately fully-registered with the system (i.e. in possession of an NHS number), including not only UK citizens but also legal emigrants, can access the full breadth of both critical and non-critical medical care without any out-of-pocket payment of any kind. Only extremely specific NHS service types are fee-for-service: Politicians in the years since 1948 have found ways to amend access to specific services within the NHS to carry charges for the patient, such as associated with...
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