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What we do

We are an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

We provide a range of critical central services to NHS organisations, NHS contractors, patients and the public.

We are responsible for providing platforms and delivering services which support the priorities of the NHS, government and local health economies. In doing so we manage around £48 billion of NHS spend annually.

By providing these services once, nationally and at scale and by digitising and using leading-edge technology, we deliver great taxpayer value and savings for the NHS. These savings are then reinvested in frontline care.

As we cement our role right at the heart of the sector, the breadth and depth of services that we have been asked to undertake has grown significantly.

We group them into three operational areas:

  • platforms and services we provide to the NHS to best support its people
  • services we provide to support essential primary care functions
  • services direct to the public to enable citizens to gain access to the healthcare and help with health costs to which they are entitled

NHS workforce

Our support for the NHS workforce agenda starts right at the beginning of the journey, administering NHS student bursary payments to support people through their training. We help over one and a half million people to find work each year or progress their careers with the NHS through our NHS Jobs service.

Our national Electronic Staff Record system, with over one and a half million staff records, is the platform on which NHS organisations record essential workforce, skills and training information and make accurate and timely payments to their staff.

Once our NHS colleagues have completed their careers with the NHS, we support their retirement through delivery of the NHS Pension Scheme - the largest centrally administrated pension scheme in Europe.

We also provide HR Shared Services delivering at scale, efficient and effective HR services to other organisations. We are NHS workforce specialists.

Primary care services

We support primary care in the NHS by helping commissioners to manage their contractual arrangements with NHS providers and we support those essential providers of services to the NHS, in particular our pharmacy and dentistry colleagues.

We do this by processing over one billion prescription items each year and 43.6 million dental claims, making over £12 billion of accurate and timely payments for the essential services they provide to patients and the public. We also provide a high-tech scanning service which saves NHS organisations money and, as importantly, vital office and operational space in their buildings. We are NHS pharmacy and dentistry services experts.

Citizen services

We support members of the public in gaining access to healthcare services and the help with health costs to which they are entitled. Whether that be through the range of exemption schemes that we operate (such as maternity, low income and medical exemption schemes) providing free or reduced-cost prescriptions or dentistry, or through our work supporting UK residents living or working overseas and the broader reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other countries. Each year we support around ten million citizens in this way.

We also provide a loss recovery service to ensure that only those entitled to help with health costs receive them and we have taken over responsibility from the DHSC for a range of Healthy Foods schemes, all of which being key preventative and population health interventions. We are the delivery partner of choice and have been able to stand up a contact centre within 24 hours to support key national events and issues. We are NHS customer experience professionals.

How we do it

We take pride in designing our services around the needs and experience of our users, of having a digital-first mentality, whilst ensuring accessibility for all.

Our multi award-winning contact centre is testament to our belief in inclusivity and accessibility of our services by all. We are NHS digital designers.

In an ever-changing world, we work with some of the world-leading organisations and technologies, as well as niche, local enterprises where this offers the best solution and access to cutting-edge technologies. We are NHS technology specialists.

Because of the national and at scale nature of our services we produce and collate vast amounts of data. Our first duty is to ensure the safety, security and accuracy of this data and we then apply our analytical skills to produce actionable insight. We collaborate and innovate with partners to use these insights to drive improvements in patient outcomes, patient safety and taxpayer value. We are NHS data scientists.