NHS Wales

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NHS Wales
NHS logo in Wales.png
The logo of NHS Wales
Publicly funded healthcare service overview
Jurisdiction Wales
Employees 70,000
Annual budget £6 billion
Minister responsible Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
Publicly funded healthcare service executives Dr. Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive of NHS Wales
Simon Dean, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Wales
Child Publicly funded healthcare service 7 Local Health Boards

NHS Wales (Welsh: Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol Cymru (GIG Cymru)) is the publicly funded healthcare system of Wales and is the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government.

NHS Wales was originally formed as part of the public health system for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946 with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969. Responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Government under devolution in 1999 and has since then been the responsibility of the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services.[1]

NHS Wales provides emergency services and a range of primary care, secondary care and specialist tertiary care services. District General Hospitals provide outpatient, inpatient and accident and emergency services and a network of community hospitals are run by GPs. Specialist hospitals provide services such as burns units, plastics and cardiac surgery. NHS Wales also funds GP services, dental services, pharmacies and sexual health services. Community services are also provided which includes district nurses, health visitors, midwives and community based speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.[2]


There are seven Local Health Boards (LHBs) in Wales and three national NHS Trusts.[3] Each LHB is responsible for delivering all NHS healthcare services within a geographical area. Three NHS Trusts, called 'all-Wales trusts', operate nationwide agencies and services. These are: the Welsh Ambulance Service,[4] Velindre NHS Trust[5] (providing a range of specialist services at local, regional and All Wales levels, including the Welsh Blood Service and specialist cancer services), and Public Health Wales.[6]

The current Health Boards were created on 1 October 2009 following a reorganisation of NHS Wales that saw the abolition of 22 Local Health Boards (LHBs) and seven NHS Trusts that had existed since 2003.[7] Since the reorganisation Health Boards are responsible for delivering all NHS services, rather than the two-tiered Trust and LHB system that existed previously.

Wales' largest teaching hospital, the University Hospital of Wales based in Cardiff is the largest hospital outside London and third largest in the United Kingdom.

Other NHS Wales bodies[edit]

Another important organisation in the structure is Health Commission Wales. This is an executive agency of the Welsh Government whose primary role is to centrally organise and fund all tertiary care and other highly specialist services. It also provides advise and guidance about specialist services to other parts of NHS Wales.

NHS Wales Informatics Service, established in April 2010 is a national organisation responsible for the strategic development of Information Communications Technology (ICT), the delivery of operational ICT services and information management[8] It is 'hosted unit' of Velindre NHS Trust. [9]

NHS Direct Wales/Galw Iechyd Cymru provides a non-emergency telephone health advice and information service. It operates 24 hours a day every day of the year with callers being given the option of communicating in Welsh or English. NHS Direct Wales is part of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

There are seven Community Health Councils in Wales which monitor the quality of the NHS services provided within a Health Board area and provide information about available services to the public.[10]


NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and directly employs some 70,000 staff, making it Wales’s biggest employer.[11] It employs a wide range of staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics as well as allied health professionals such as technicians, microbiologists, radiographers and pharmacists. Staff in its support services include administrative staff, estates and management staff, catering and domestic support staff.

Most staff working for NHS Wales, including non-clinical staff and GPs (most of whom are independent contractors), are eligible to join the NHS Pension Scheme which, from 1 April 2008, is a salary-average defined benefit scheme.

The Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford decided that from September 2014 NHS Wales staff would be paid at least the living wage, resulting in about 2,400 employees receiving an increase in salary of up to £470 above UK wide Agenda for Change rates.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NHS Wales - About Us: History & Context". NHS Wales. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Our services". NHS Wales. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  3. ^ http://wales.gov.uk/topics/health/nhswales/reform/?lang=en
  4. ^ http://www.ambulance.wales.nhs.uk/
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ http://www.publichealthwales.wales.nhs.uk/
  7. ^ "Your Local Health Service". NHS Wales. March 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ {http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/899/home]
  11. ^ "Topics: Health and social care: NHS Wales: About NHS Wales". Welsh Government. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Mark Smith (9 July 2014). "Lowest-paid NHS staff in Wales to receive living wage increase in pay". Wales Online. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • [4] NHS Wales website
  • [5] Welsh Government website
  • [6] NHS Direct Wales