Health System

Root Definition

A collective term for the public system that provides health interventions and advice to enable people to recover from diseases or manage chronic diseases by commissioning provision of health interventions and monitoring the use and effectiveness of those interventions.

That includes:

Reviewing and approving new interventions that have a scientific evidence-base; and monitoring these to ensure continued relevance and effectiveness.
Producing operational plans at a national and local level to promote effective health practices.
Funding health interventions.
Ensuring value for money and efficiency of interventions.
Recording and monitoring health interventions.
Ensuring appropriate professional qualification for delivery of interventions.


Health professionals


Regulatory bodies (e.g. CQC, NICE, Monitor)
Data managers (mainly HSCIC)
Commissioners (NHS England, CCGs)
Providers (GPs, Hospitals, other providers (e.g. physiotherapists))
Professional bodies


Transforms funds into interventions.
Transforms data about interventions into information, knowledge and insight into healthcare effectiveness.
Transforms knowledge and insight into plans for health development.


The health system as a whole, and the NHS in particular, is seen as an important national asset for maintaining the wellbeing of the population. It operates on limited funding, and there is a significant emphasis on value for money. Information on the scope, effectiveness and efficiency of health interventions, and the relationship morbidity and mortality within the population are a key concern.


The government on behalf of citizens. Though there is a significant private healthcare infrastructure, the government also has a responsibility to regulate that infrastructure.


The media, who have a significant influence on the political agenda, and who are prone to develop agendas to promote or challenge established practice.
The public, who have a strong affinity for the NHS.
Professional bodies and the MBA.
Organisations that provide international comparators (e.g. WHO).

Relavent Subsystems

Department of Health, who are the main agent of government delivering health and adult social care services

Professional bodies

Contribution to the problem situation

Over and above the contribution of subsystems, there is a lack of quantifiable data on comparators between MBIs and other interventions that target equivalent cohorts (e.g longitudinal effect of an MBI on depression relapse over 5 and 10 years, in relation to effectiveness and cost of drug interventions over the same period).