The four publicly funded health care systems in the countries of the United Kingdom are referred to as the National Health Service (NHS). The systems are primarily funded through central taxation. They provide 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. The four systems are mostly independent from each other although some functions might be routinely performed on behalf of the UK Department of Health or for one of the other three systems (e.g. 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); otherwise, they operate under different management, rules, and political authority.
The individual systems are: 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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