skills development network

About Overview

The National Health Service (NHS)

The NHS was launched in 1948 based on the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.  With the exception of some charges such as prescriptions, the NHS in England remains free at the point of use for all UK residents.  Currently the NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours.

Funding for the NHS comes directly from taxation and national insurance contributions. When the NHS was first launched the budget was £437 million (roughly £15 billion at today’s value); in 2022/23, the overall NHS budget was around £155 billion.

The NHS employs more than 1.6 million people and is the sixth biggest only behind the Indian Ministry of Defence, US Department of Defence, the People’s Liberation Army of China, Walmart and Amazon.  Further information on the workforce can be found in the NHS Employers infographic and in the NHS Confederation’s Key Statistics on the NHS.

More information about the NHS and its structure can be found on the NHS website; in the Resources section there is also a useful video How Does the NHS in England Work which may be helpful.

North West Skills Development Network (NWSDN)

In line with the NHS Constitution’s pledge to provide all staff with the right skills to develop excellent professionals enabling them to facilitate the delivery of excellent patient care, the NWSDN provides an innovative learning and development infrastructure which enables and supports continuing development of all Finance, Digital and Procurement staff in the NHS across the North West, a total workforce of just over 9,000.

The NWSDN team of 10 staff are hosted by Warrington & Halton Hospitals and funded by over 40 North West health member organisations through a subscription. Work undertaken involves facilitation of learning events, sharing of best practice and networking as well as offering apprenticeships and accreditation in addition to hosting five annual conferences and undertaking annual workforce profiling. Further information in this respect can be found in the latest Annual Report (PDF 845kb).