Structure of the NHS

The NHS provides healthcare services to more than one million patients every 36 hours, and the vast majority of these services are free at the point of use for UK residents.

Many people think that the NHS is a single organisation with a central recruiting team, however this is not the case. The NHS is actually made up of multiple organisations, with each individual organisation having its own recruitment team and list of vacancies.

The structure of these NHS organisations varies slightly between the four UK nations, which is explained in more detail on the Health Careers website. In England, the organisations making up the NHS include:

  • National bodies that oversee and regulate NHS services
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that plan and commission care for local populations
  • Healthcare provider organisations
    • Primary care organisations – independent businesses offering NHS services, including GP practices, dental practices, opticians
    • Acute (hospital) trusts – providers of hospital-based NHS services
    • Mental health trusts – organisations which offer mental health and social care services
    • Community trusts – providers of community-based services, such as district nursing, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy
    • Ambulance trusts – organisations which offer NHS transportation services emergency and non-emergency care
    • Charities and social enterprises – organisations which provide support services to the NHS.

Many of these individual organisations have committed to supporting the Armed Forces community through the Step into Health programme. View all the organisations that have currently pledged their support in the map below and find their details to get in touch, by registering and logging into our candidate system. Use the icon in the top left to show the organisation colour key.

This video from the King’s Fund explains more about the make up of the NHS in England.

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