The Northern Ireland Executive through its Department of Health is responsible for its funding, while the Public Health Agency is the executive agency responsible for the provision of health and social care services across Northern Ireland. It is free of charge to all citizens of Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
For services such as A&E, patients simply walk in, state their name and date of birth, are given treatment and then leave. Patients are unaware of costs incurred by them using the service. It is sometimes called the NHS, as in England, Scotland and Wales, but differs from the NHS in England and Wales in that it provides social care as well as health care.
The Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009 led to a reorganisation of health and social care delivery in Northern Ireland, reducing the number of organisations involved. This Act established the Health and Social Care Board and five Health and Social Care trusts which are responsible for the delivery of primary, secondary and community health care.
Trusts are the statutory bodies responsible for the management of staff, health and social care services on the ground and have control their own budgets.
The 5 regional trusts are: