There are three parts to health services in the UK and these parts are linked thus:
- Primary care – the first point of contact between a person and the National Health Service (NHS), for example, their general practitioner (family doctor), health centre nurse or local dentist.
- Secondary/acute care – healthcare delivered in an acute sector setting such as a hospital, either on an inpatient or an outpatient basis.
- Community provision – multi-disciplinary, multi-agency community services including specialist health practitioners such as psychiatrists and community learning disability teams, which can support mainstream services across health, education and social work.
The NHS and Community Care Act (1990) introduced the practice of separate ‘purchasers’ and ‘providers’ in health and in social care; an attempt to improve accountability and efficiency. ...