Online course

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

Get a detailed understanding of the NHS - its inner workings, current and future challenges, and how it all fits together.

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

Learn about the NHS and how it compares with health systems around the world.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service (NHS), a unique health care system and a source of British national pride placed above the BBC, the British Olympic team and the Royal Family.

But how much do you know about where it began, how it works today and how it all fits together?

This course will help you understand what keeps the fifth largest employer in the world running. You’ll explore current and future challenges facing the NHS, and the ways in which we can tackle these challenges to ensure a system 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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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), anyone considering a career in the NHS in England, and patients and the public.

Who will you learn with?

Hong-Anh Nguyen

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.

Ian Ford

I create, commission and edit digital content for The King's Fund. I help to manage our online presence and find different ways to share our messages with others.

Helen McKenna

I am a senior fellow at The King's Fund working across policy and communications. I identify and analyse emerging policy issues and advise on their implications for the health and social care system.

Ruth Robertson

I am a senior fellow in the policy team at The King's Fund, where I lead research projects on various aspects of health system reform.

Who developed the course?

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.

Get a taste of this course

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