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Department of Health

The NHS in England is controlled by the UK government through the Department of Health (DH), which takes political responsibility for the service.

The DH controls ten Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), which oversee all NHS operations, particularly the Primary Care Trusts, in their area.

The Department of Health is responsible for delivering fast, fair, convenient and high quality health and social care services to the people of England.

It is led by the Secretary of State for Health with two Ministers of State and three Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State.

The official headquarters and Ministerial offices are in Richmond House, Whitehall, London. There are also staff based in Leeds.

Primarily the Department of Health is responsible for

  • Management of the overall health and social care system
  • Developing policy and managing major change in the NHS
  • Regulation and inspection of the NHS (increasingly at arms length through organisations such as the Healthcare Commission)
  • Intervention, should problems occur in the running of the NHS at any level

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