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The NHS Explained: How the Health System in England Really Works

Discover the inner workings of the UK National Health Service (NHS), and consider its current and future challenges.

35,432 enrolled on this course

The NHS Explained: How the Health System in England Really Works
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Explore the UK healthcare system and learn how the NHS works

The National Health Service (NHS) affects the lives of millions of people and is a source of British national pride placed above the BBC, the British Olympic team, and even the Royal Family.

So, what is the NHS? How many people does it take to run the service and keep a nation healthy? How is the NHS funded? Why are hospital waiting times always in the headlines?

This course will help you understand the answers to these questions and explore what keeps the fifth largest employer in the world running.

You’ll explore the challenges facing the NHS, and how to ensure it’s fit for the future.

What topics will you cover?

  • How the NHS in England is structured
  • How different services work together to deliver health care in the NHS
  • How funding flows through the system
  • How well the NHS is doing
  • How performance is measured in the NHS
  • Future challenges facing the NHS and how the system is changing in response to this

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate a wide understanding of how the constituent parts of the NHS in England work together to deliver health and care services
  • Summarise the various ways in which the NHS measures how well it is performing
  • Discuss the future challenges facing the NHS and the way in which the system is adapting to meet these challenges
  • Explore the resources required needed to keep the nation healthy

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in the NHS in England and how it works.

This includes NHS and social care staff in England (working in both clinical and non-clinical roles), students considering a career in the NHS, and patients and the public.

Who will you learn with?

I'm a librarian at The King's Fund and alongside managing the library and public enquiry service, I also lead on our service that helps to keep people up to date on health policy in England.

I'm a digital content producer at The King's Fund. I work on our digital content and online presence, including our social media channels and videos.

I'm a researcher in the policy team at the King's Fund. Recent topics I've worked on include commissioning, sexual health services and the administrative burden associated with using health services.

I'm an analyst in the policy team at The King's Fund. I support research mainly though quantitative analysis and communication of various datasets. I also lead on adult social care analysis.

Who developed the course?

The King's Fund

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. Its vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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