is the publicly funded healthcare system
Publicly funded health care is a form of health care financing designed to meet the cost of all or most health care needs from a publicly managed fund. Usually this is under some form of democratic accountability, the right of access to which are set down in rules applying to the whole population...
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...
and is the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government.
NHS Wales was originally formed as part of the public health system for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946
The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948 and created the National Health Service in England and Wales. Though the title 'National Health Service' implies one health service for the United Kingdom, in reality a separate NHS was created for England and Wales accountable to...
with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales
The Secretary of State for Wales is the head of the Wales Office within the British cabinet. He or she is responsible for ensuring Welsh interests are taken into account by the government, representing the government within Wales and overseeing the passing of legislation which is only for Wales...
in 1969. Responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Government under devolution in 1999 and has since then been the responsibility of the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services.
NHS Wales provides emergency services and a range of primary care
Primary care is the term for the health services by providers who act as the principal point of consultation for patients within a health care system...
, secondary care and specialist tertiary care services. District General Hospitals provide outpatient, inpatient and accident and emergency services and a network of community hospitals are run by GPs. Specialist hospitals provide services such as burns units, plastics and cardiac surgery. NHS Wales also funds GP services, dental services, pharmacies and sexual health services. Community services are also provided which includes district nurses, health visitors, midwives and community based speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists
Occupational therapy is a discipline that aims to promote health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful activities. Occupational therapists work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally, and/or emotionally disabling condition by utilizing treatments...
There are seven regional Health Boards in Wales and three national NHS Trusts. Each Health Board is responsible for delivering all NHS healthcare services within a geographical area. The three NHS Trusts, called 'All Wales Trusts' operate nationwide agencies and services; they areservices,< Welsh Ambulance Service
The Welsh Ambulance Service is the national ambulance service for Wales...
, Velindre NHS Trust providing specialist cancer services and Public Health Wales.
The current Health Boards were created on 1st October 2009 following a reorganisation of NHS Wales that saw the abolition of 22 Local Health Boards (LHBs) and seven NHS Trusts that had existed since 2003. Since the reorganisation Health Boards are responsible for delivering all NHS services, rather than the two-tiered Trust and LHB system that existed previously.
Wales' largest teaching hospital, the University Hospital of Wales
University Hospital of Wales , opened in November 1971, is a major 1000-bed hospital situated in the inner city district of Heath in Cardiff, Wales...
based in Cardiff is the largest hospital outside London and third largest in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
Other NHS Wales bodies
Another important organisation in the structure is Health Commission Wales. This is an executive agency of the Welsh Government whose primary role is to centrally organise and fund all tertiary care and other highly specialist services. It also provides advise and guidance about specialist services to other parts of NHS Wales.
NHS Wales Informatics Service, established in April 2010 is also an agency of the Welsh Government. It is responsible for the strategic development of Information Communications Technology (ICT), the delivery of operational ICT services and information management.
NHS Direct Wales
NHS Direct Wales is a 24-hour telephone and internet health advice service provided by NHS Wales to enable people to obtain advice when use of the national emergency telephone number does not seem to be appropriate but there is some degree of urgency; it also functions as a confidential advice...
/Galw Iechyd Cymru provides a non-emergency telephone health advice and information service. It operates 24 hours a day every day of the year with callers being given the option of communicating in Welsh
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...
or English. NHS Direct Wales is part of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
There are seven Community Health Councils in Wales which monitor the quality of the NHS services provided within a Health Board area and provide information about available services to the public.
NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and employs some 90,000 staff, making it Wales’s biggest employer. It employs a wide range of staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives and paramededics well as allied health professionals such as technicians, microbiologists, radiographers and pharmacists. Staff in its support services include administrative staff, estates and management staff, catering and domestic support staff.
Most staff working for NHS Wales, including non-clinical staff and GPs (most of whom are self-employed) are eligible to join the NHS Pension Scheme
The NHS Pension Scheme is a large pension scheme for people who work for the English NHS and NHS Wales. It is administered by the NHS Business Services Authority, a special health authority of the Department of Health of the United Kingdom....
which, from 1 April 2008, is an average-salary Pension Defined benefit plans|defined benefit scheme.