Hospitals in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

The vast majority of hospitals in the United Kingdom are publicly owned and managed by the National Health Service (NHS). There are however, several private hospitals also in operation. Hospital services are regulated by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which, together with the NHS ensure that high-quality care is provided. For individuals ordinarily resident in the UK hospital treatment is free. Hospital services are considered as secondary care, meaning that in order to access treatment you must be referred by a medical professional, with emergency care being an exception to this rule.
In the United Kingdom, seven percent of GDP expenditure goes towards the NHS and over three million British pounds of the annual household expenditure budget goes towards hospital services. The number of admissions to NHS hospitals in England is steadily increasing, with a quarterly attendance rate of 1.5 million individuals. The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust was ranked as the busiest hospitals in England, due to the number of admissions measuring almost 256 thousand in 2015/16.
Approximately 1.3 million people are employed in hospitals in the United Kingdom working as nurses, doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, physiotherapists, cleaners and administration staff. Individuals receiving treatment in hospitals are categorized as inpatients who require an overnight stay, or outpatients who are attending for a day procedure or consultation. According to a survey conducted at the beginning of 2017, individuals stated they have to wait a long time before being seen by a doctor. Patients experienced the longest delays in Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in England where a patient was on the waiting list for 449 days before being seen.
Hospitals are generally composed of different departments and wards including maternity, surgery, intensive care, oncology and accident and emergency. Emergency departments are constantly under scrutiny to deliver efficient and effective care within a set timeframe. The aim is for patients to be seen by a medical professional and discharged or referred to another department within four hours. In 2015/16, 21 million patients were seen in less than four hours, while 1.8 million patients had to wait four hours or more. In 2016, the core services of NHS acute hospitals were rated, with services for children and young people and intensive/critical care receiving a ‘good’ rating for service. Medical services (including older people’s care) and urgent and emergency services were rated as ‘required improvement’.

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Hospitals and hospital departments in the United Kingdom

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Emergency department

Hospital services

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