Each of the four countries of the United Kingdom has a publicly funded health care referred to as the National Health Service (NHS) though only the NHS in England uses this name officially. The terms National Health Service or NHS are also used to refer to the four systems collectively.
The systems are primarily funded through central taxation and each provides a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use for people legally resident in the United Kingdom. Each system operates independently and is accountable to its own political authority. However, some functions might be routinely performed on behalf of the UK Department of Health or for one of the other three systems. For example, Northern Ireland has no high security mental hospitals and thus depends on using hospitals in Great Britain, routinely Carstairs State Mental Hospital in Scotland for male patients and Rampton Secure Hospital in England for female patients. 〔(The Transfer of Mentally Disordered Patients – Guidance on the transfer of mentally disordered patients detained under the Mental Health (NI) Order 1986 to and from Hospitals in Great Britain – August 2011 )〕
==The UK individual systems ==
* National Health Service (England)
* Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland
* NHS Scotland
* NHS Wales
All services are often referred to as "the NHS", although only the English NHS is officially called the "National Health Service". All of the services were founded in 1948, based on legislation passed in 1946, 1947 and 1948. NHS Wales was part of the same structure as England until powers over the NHS in Wales were transferred to the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969, and responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Assembly (now the Welsh Government) under devolution in 1999.
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