Each of the countries of the United Kingdom has a public health service that provides healthcare to all UK permanent residents that is free at the point of need and paid for from general taxation. Each of the countries of the United Kingdom has a public health service that provides healthcare to all UK permanent residents that is free at the point of need and paid for from general taxation.
The NHS provides the majority of healthcare in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term healthcare, ophthalmology and dentistry. The National Health Service Act 1946 came into effect on 5 July 1948, and is considered the world's first universal health care system provided by government.
NHS Scotland was founded by the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1947 which came into effect on the same day as the NHS in England and Wales but has always been a separate organisation
NHS Wales was originally formed as part of the same NHS structure created by the National Health Service Act 1946 but powers over the NHS in Wales came under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969.
Private health services are also available. Private health care continues parallel to the NHS, paid for largely by private insurance. There are no private hospitals providing accident and emergency services. Most ambulance services are publicly run but some private and charity run ambulance services also exist. In 2005, the United Kingdom spent 8.2% of Gross Domestic Product on health care, or US$3,065 per capita. Of that, approximately 87% was government expenditure.
Socialized medicine The core of the service are the General Practitioners (GPs or family doctors) who are responsible for the care of patients registered with them. GPs are mostly private doctors that choose to contract with the NHS to provide services to patients paid for by the government and not the patient. They are paid a capitation fee and certain other payments according to work they do and their performance