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Cover Mason and McCall Smith's Law and Medical Ethics

3. The Governance of the Health System  

A. M. Farrell and E. S. Dove

This chapter examines the governance of the health system in the UK. In the UK, there are four health services which are often referred to collectively as the National Health Service (NHS). A general overview of the UK health system is provided, which includes examining how health policy is made and how health decision-makers are held to account, what public bodies are involved in the health system, and how the health system is financed. Consideration is given to the impact of current political devolution arrangements in the UK, which has resulted in health care and public health becoming the responsibility of the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Thereafter, each of the UK’s four health services are examined in more detail, focusing on their organisational structure, specific health initiatives, and their approach to patient safety and quality improvement.