Understanding How the NHS Works

The National Health Service (NHS) was setup by the government to provide healthcare for all residents of the UK and is funded by public taxes. This service is based on people’s need for healthcare instead of their ability to pay for it. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own separate NHS services.

The following guide will explain in simple terms how the NHS is structured, so you can better understand how to get the treatment that you or a member of your family need.

Department of Health and Its Authorities

The NHS is run by the Department of Health, which reports to the Secretary of State for Health.

In total, the Department of Health is responsible for NHS and social care delivery through the Strategic Health Authorities.

Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs)

These Authorities supervise the Trusts that run NHS services in their local areas. There are 10 of them in total and their responsibilities include developing as well as integrating plans to improve health services.

The main Trusts that the Health Authorities watch over are as follows:

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)

These are your first port of call in providing care when you have a medical problem and need to visit a doctor. There are 152 Primary Care Trusts and they control 80 per cent of the NHS budget. PCTs make sure there are enough health services for people in their local area. In total, their services include providing hospitals, dentists, opticians, mental health services, screening, pharmacies, NHS walk-in centres and patient transport.

Acute Trusts

These Trusts have the responsibility of managing hospitals to ensure they’re of high quality and efficient at spending money. This can also include such services such as training health professionals at universities and providing health centres, clinics or care at home in local communities.

Hospital and Foundation Trusts

All in all, there are 290 NHS Hospital Trusts who oversee 1 600 NHS hospitals and specialist care centres.

Foundation Trusts, which total 83 at present, are a new form of NHS hospital specifically tailored to local needs.

Ambulance Trusts

There are 13 Ambulance Trusts in England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate versions. These Trusts provide emergency access to health care – their emergency control room prioritises calls for an ambulance and decides what kind of response to send. They also provide transport for patients needing to get to hospital for treatment.

Care Trusts

Care Trusts are a result of the NHS and local authorities agreeing to work in partnership to create a closer relationship between health and social care.

Mental Health Trusts

As per their title, these Trusts deliver health and social care services for people with mental health problems. These include health screening plus counselling and psychological therapies

Special Health Authorities

Unlike Strategic Health Authorities who focus on local services, the Special Health Authorities provide an NHS health service to the whole of England or the UK.

Their divisions include the following. Agencies:

Medicines, Healthcare Products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

The MHRA grants licences for medicines so they can be sold and regulates both medicines and medical devices in the UK to ensure they meet certain standards of safety, quality, performance and effectiveness.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

NICE provides national guidance on the prevention and treatment of poor health. It also creates the guidelines on whether or not certain treatments are available on the NHS in England and Wales.

National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)

NPSA consists of three divisions that are specifically designed to help improve patient safety in the NHS throughout the UK.

Health Protection Agency (HPA)

The HPA has three centres which together protect the UK against infectious diseases and other dangers to public health such as chemical and radiation risks. This includes providing specialist training to help prepare emergency services nationwide for major incidents.

Head First Into Home Health Monitoring

After over three years of research, development, and market study, Intel announced the launch of the Intel Health Guide, an Intel-branded device for remotely monitoring and managing patients with chronic illness at home.

From Intel’s demo one can see that the device is a laptop computer no keyboard and a reversed touch-screen. Patients can connect and upload blood pressure monitors and other medical devices to communicate results with remote health care providers. In addition to vital sign data collection, the health monitoring software also provides patient reminders, surveys, educational content, and other communication tools.

Although Intel appears to be targeting at the same chronic disease management market, the Health Guide from Intel adds features and functions far beyond its predecessor Health Buddy from Health Hero Network. It will be interesting to see whether or the enhanced functionality such as video conferencing and multimedia content will be the key to market adoption.

The real barriers to adoption of remote monitoring and other chronic care strategies may be less about functionality than about institutional incentives and business models ingrained in our health care system. The health care market with Medicare in the lead still rewards health care providers far more for treating the complications of chronic illness than it does for proactive management and monitoring aimed at preventing them.

The incentive systems that determine the viability of new models of health care enabled by devices like theĀ Intel Health GuideĀ and the Bosch Health Buddy could be about to change, however. With favorable results from the Medicare chronic care improvement demonstration project currently underway from Health Hero Network in Washington and Oregon, Medicare coverage for health care providers to offer home health monitoring services may be around the corner.

How to Find the Right Family Health

If you want help with medical conditions, but don’t want to bother a GP, then you’ll want to find a reliable family health guide, that will give you the information you need. Here’s what you need to consider.

1. Although books are a great source of information, by their very nature they are out of date as soon as they are published. For some conditions, the symptoms, diagnosis, information and treatment might change regularly, whilst for other conditions, it might not. If you want more in depth knowledge about a condition, books are a good source of information.

2. Friends can also help, especially if they have had the same condition, or know someone who has. If their children are a bit older than yours, or their children have also got the typical illnesses that go around nurseries and schools, then they might have their own remedies and diversionary tactics to help calm down sick children.

3. Your family might also be a good help. Perhaps you suffered from the same condition as your children have, and your parents know what to do.

4. There are a myriad of online health sources, which can provide you with the help you’re looking for.

5. However, because anyone can publish information online, there’s nothing to say that it’s true, or that you have the same condition, even if the symptoms seem to be the same.

6. A website that has typical family medical conditions will be able to give you the information you need, so that you can go to a doctor, if necessary, and get the treatment you need.

7. The website you choose must be a trusted source, so that you are being given medical information by healthcare professionals, rather than just someone who had the condition.

8. You’ll need the information to be accurate, so that you can quickly ascertain the condition, from the symptoms. A website that is hard to use, and difficult to navigate isn’t ideal if you have a screaming baby in your other hand.

9. It’s essential that the website is updated regularly and the latest health recommendations and treatments are available.

10. The website needs to be easy to access, so that you can use it anywhere, not just on a home computer. If your child is injured whilst in the park, do you need a trip to A and E, or will a plaster do? By having an easily accessible website, you’ll be able to find out, and make the right decisions quickly, for the benefit of all involved.

No you know what to look for, you’ll be able to choose the right family health guide.

Why You Need a Family Health Guide

If you’ve got a family, then you’ll want to make sure that if your child doesn’t feel well, or hurts themselves, that you know what to do. Having a family health guide is the best way of doing this.

If you’re choosing a family health guide, then this is what you need to consider.

1. Books can prove to be an invaluable source of health information, and you’ll want to be able to makes that you can follow easy steps, or instructions in order to determine symptoms or conditions. However, they are soon out of date, and you won’t want to have to carry a large medical text book with you wherever you go.

2. Friends are a great source of family health information, especially if they have children of a similar age, or who have had similar conditions. You know that you won’t be getting horror stories, and can rely on them to be telling you the truth. Your friends’ children might not have had the same illnesses or illnesses, and so you might need to look elsewhere for your information.

3. Your family can be really helpful, as they will have had children, and know whether the condition requires medical treatment or not, and whether you’re over reacting, or not taking the condition seriously enough.

4. Online family health guides can be extremely useful, and allow you to find out the information you need quickly. Although spending a few minutes on a computer, whilst your baby is screaming might be hard, it’ll be easier than looking for a book, or trying to phone your friends or family.

5. As anyone can create a website or blog, you can’t always believe what you read online. Medical conditions or treatments can be posted by anyone, and so not are necessarily true, or reliable. Who’s to say the doctor posting the solution really is a doctor? You can’t risk your child’s health by trusting somebody who may or may not be a doctor.

6. Your child’s symptoms could point to many conditions, and so it can be hard to pinpoint what might actually be the matter. It’s even harder if your child is too young to talk.

7. You need the guide to be accurate, so that you can be confident that the condition or symptoms can be diagnosed. You don’t want to take your baby to casualty on a busy Friday or Saturday night if you don’t have to. You also don’t want to leave it too late before seeking medical attention if your child’s condition could worsen.

8. It’s essential that the family health is regularly updated. As medical advice and opinions change so often, especially for pregnancy and babies, you don’t want to take a chance on doing something that might affect your child.

9. You’ll need to be able to access the family health guide anytime and anywhere, and find what you need when you need it. you don’t want to wait, or

10. It’s important that you choose a trusted source for your child’s health. If you do choose a website rather than your GP or hospital, you’ll need to know that the advice you’re given is appropriate, and given by healthcare professionals.

Now you know why having a family health guide is important, and what to look for when choosing a guide, you’ll be able to find the answers to the questions about your children’s health.