The Health Service Key 

Datasheets are currently being updated - latest counts and details can be seen at -


48,991 Senior contacts in NHS organisations & GP practices

The Health Service - an overview

The National Health Service is the UK 's largest employer but it would be wrong to think of it as a single homogenous organisation. Following devolution and reorganisation, the ways in which it is organised in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are continuing to diverge.

In England the main NHS organisations are Strategic Health Authorities, NHS Trusts and PCTs. The former have a strategic planning role. The NHS trusts run the acute services including ambulance services. They usually manage several hospitals & in such cases, management and purchasing decisions are usually taken by the Trust centrally and not by the individual hospital manager, who is probably concerned only with the day-to-day running of the hospital. Primary Care Trusts control all primary care services ie:- GPs, Dentists, Pharmacists, Opticians etc. T here are also specialist NHS bodies for matters such as Prescription Pricing, the National Blood Service and NHS Direct.

Scotland has a simplified structure with Scottish Health Boards having control of all operational responsibilities within their geographical area. The Community Health Partnerships provide a range of community health services and they work closely with primary health care professionals as well as hospitals and local councils.

In Wales new Local Health Boards are currently being established & these will integrate the current LHBs and NHS Trusts.

The new organisations will become operational in October.

Northern Ireland is also currently re-structuring the Health & Social Services organisations. There will now be a single Health & Social Care Board along with several other new national bodies. The five HSC Trusts and the Ambulance Trust still remain.

How the data is organised

The Health Service Key encompasses senior management functions at all levels of the NHS, including GP Practices. The information is updated through direct contact with the organisations concerned.

The data is categorised primarily by job function to identify responsibilities rather than job title because the latter can vary so much from one organisation to another. NHS Trust addresses are also categorised by the type of services the Trust provides such as Acute Services or Ambulance Services.

In the case of GP Practices our aim is to cover the Practice Manager, the Senior GP and the Senior Nurse . In every practice, one of these is nominated as the “Principal Contact” to allow you to reach each practice only once if required. This will normally be the Practice Manager, if there is one, failing which it will be the senior or only GP.

Numbers given overleaf are for the whole UK , but addresses may also be selected by location (administrative county) or by postcode area at no extra cost.