“The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly referred to as the United Kingdom, consists of the isle of Great Britain and the northeastern section of the isle of Ireland (Fig. 1.1). These islands are separated from Scandinavia to the east by the North Sea, and from the European continent to the south by the English Channel; to the west is the Atlantic Ocean. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales; these three plus Northern Ireland make up the United Kingdom (Cylus et al., 2015).”
“The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system, with two houses of parliament. Members of the House of Commons (the lower house) are democratically elected, whereas members of the House of Lords (the upper house) are mostly appointed, although some are ‘hereditary peers’ in that they inherit their seats in the house along with their aristocratic titles (Cylus et al., 2015). The head of state is a hereditary monarch (since 1952, Queen Elizabeth II). The head of government in the United Kingdom is the prime minister, who is the leader of the party that can command a majority in the House of Commons. In the last general election of December 2019, the Conservatives won a significant majority, with Boris Johnson elected as prime minister. All four nations are represented in the United Kingdom Parliament. In 1997, a majority of those voting in referenda in Scotland and Wales supported the creation of a Scottish Parliament and a National Assembly for Wales (Civil Service, 2021). In Northern Ireland, devolution was a key element of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and was supported in a referendum in 1998. The United Kingdom Government has also devolved some functions to city regions in England. The United Kingdom Government reserved some matters to itself, such as constitutional issues, foreign affairs, trade policy, defence, immigration and energy (Civil Service, 2021). Other matters including health and social care, education and training, agriculture, and transport are taken up by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in England’s case, by the United Kingdom Parliament. Local authorities or councils are responsible for the delivery of most public services, including social care and (in England) public health, but not for the health service.”
“The United Kingdom is a member of various international organisations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) (Cylus et al., 2015). The government signed the European Convention on Human Rights into law in 1998 and has also signed international treaties that affect health. The United Kingdom was a member of the European Union (EU) from 1973,until it became the first country to voluntarily end its membership on 31January 2020 after the aforementioned 2016 Brexit referendum, which resulted in 51.9% of voters opting to leave (BBC, 2016). The full impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU is yet to be fully realised; however, most projections indicate that growth of the United Kingdom economy will be smaller now that it has left the EU than it would have been with continuing membership of the EU (Tetlow & Stojanovic, 2018). Moreover, Brexit has contributed to a significant decline of nurses who trained in the EU registering to practice in the United Kingdom, and challenges for the social care sector, which is reliant upon EU workers for many low-paid care worker roles (Anderson M et al., 2021a).”
“HM Government consists of the Prime Minister, their Cabinet and junior ministers, supported by the teams of non-political civil servants that work in government departments.
“The Government are the people responsible for running the country. The political party that wins the most seats at a General Election takes charge of the Government for up to five years, until the next General Election.
“The leader of the winning party is appointed as Prime Minister and chooses other party members to work in the Government with them – as Cabinet ministers and junior ministers.”
Source: Parliament and the Government. UK Parliament, 2022. Last accessed Sept. 22, 2022.
“In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, devolved administrations are responsible for many domestic policy issues, and their Parliaments/Assemblies have law-making powers for those areas.
“Areas the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive are responsible for, include:
- “the environment
Source: How Government Works. Gov.UK. Last accessed Sept. 22, 2022
World Health Systems Facts is a project of the Real Reporting Foundation. We provide reliable statistics and other data from authoritative sources regarding health systems in the US and sixteen other nations.
Page last updated July 16, 2023 by Doug McVay, Editor.