Health and care explained: how the system works and how it is changing

This content relates to the following topics:

Have you ever needed to look up an acronym to understand something in the health and care world?  Have you ever wondered how hospitals, public health, social care, mental health and community health fit together? Or thought about who exactly is responsible for making decisions? This August, join us at The King’s Fund Health and care explained event to find out the answers to these questions and more.

At this event we will explain:

  • how the NHS, social care and public health are structured and work with each other 
  • how the health and social care systems are staffed, funded and held accountable
  • the differences between hospitals, primary care, community care and mental health 
  • the challenges for the future of health care and current plans to address them.

Join us to listen to clear, jargon-free presentations and for the opportunity to put your questions to our specialists, as well as network with others interested in health and care.

Group discounts available.

Sponsorship and exhibition

Engage with leaders and decision-makers from across the health and care sector by sponsoring or exhibiting at this event. To find out more, please email Chris Lazenby or call him on 020 7307 2490 to discuss the opportunities available. 






Registration opens, exhibition and networking


Breakfast session

Details to be announced. 


Session one: The NHS, social care and public health

10.00amWelcome and introduction

10.05amHow is the NHS structured and why does it matter?

Ruth Robertson, Senior Fellow, Policy, The King’s Fund
  • Understand the core components of the complex structure of the NHS, including how money flows through the system, who the main commissioners and providers of care are, and how care is regulated.  
  • Gain an overview of the key priorities for the NHS over the next few years. 

10.25amWho cares about social care?

Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow, Social Care, The King’s Fund
  • Understand who uses social care services, who works in them and how they are funded.  
  • Learn about the role of social care and the importance of delivering the right social care for people, families and NHS services. 
  • Understand the extent of future demand for social care and the options for funding reform. 

10.45amWhat is public health and who does it?

Durka Dougall, Senior Consultant and Programme Director, Leadership and Organisational Development, The King’s Fund
  • Learn what public health entails and how it fits in with other health and care. 
  • Find out about the history of public health, who public health practitioners are and where and how they work . 

11.05amThe King’s Fund experts answer the questions you were too afraid to ask

Panel includes:

Ruth Robertson, Senior Fellow, Policy, The King’s Fund 
Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow, Social Care, The King’s Fund  
Durka Dougall, Senior Consultant and Programme Director, Leadership and Organisational Development, The King’s Fund


Session two: Current pressures in health and care

11.55amWelcome and introduction

12.00pmWorkforce: is the NHS’s biggest asset about to turn into its biggest risk?

Alex Baylis, Assistant Director of Policy, The King’s Fund
  • Hear how high numbers of vacancies mean workforce planning is becoming a big risk for the sustainability of the NHS and why Brexit may make overseas recruiting harder. 
  • In this session we explore the issues and what can be done in both the short and long term.   

12.15pmHealth and care funding: where are we now and where are we going?

Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst, The King’s Fund
  • With the health and care system under the greatest pressure for a generation, this session will cover the scale of the issue and how organisations are responding.  
  • The session will also discuss the options being considered to place health and care funding on a firmer footing in the long term.

12.30pmPolitics and policy: the big picture

Helen McKenna, Senior Fellow - Policy and Communications, The King’s Fund
  • This session will discuss how health and care policy is implemented and the relationships between local and national politics and policy.
  • Hear about how decisions are made nationally and locally, and who the decision-makers are.


Breakout A: What is commissioning?

Delegates can choose between breakouts A, B or C. 

2.00pmWelcome and introduction

Ruth Robertson, Senior Policy Fellow, The King’s Fund

2.05pmWhat is commissioning and how is it changing?

Lillie Wenzel, Policy Fellow, The King’s Fund
  • Learn about commissioning within the NHS – what is it and which organisations are involved? How is commissioning changing as organisations are working more closely together through sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and integrated care systems (ICSs)? 
  • Hear from an NHS commissioner about the highs and lows of working in the system, the opportunities for improving services and the challenges of working with constrained budgets. 
  • Gain some tips on working with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). What makes CCGs want to work with other organisations, and what are the most common mistakes made by those wanting to engage? 

Additional speaker to be confirmed shortly.

2.25pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout B: What is a hospital?

2.00pmWelcome and introduction

2.05pmWhat is a hospital?

  • Follow a patient’s route through a modern NHS hospital.
  • Learn about how the hospital has evolved and what functions and departments are essential to the delivery of health care services.
  • Understand the interplay between units and what happens in each part of what often sounds like a familiar organisation, which in practice entails a lot of complexity.

Siva Anandaciva, Chief Policy Analyst, The King’s Fund
Edward Cornick, Head of Policy, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

2.25pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout C: What is general practice?

2.00pmWelcome and introduction

2.05pmThe GPs at the heart of the health care system

  • Learn why general practice sits at the centre of the system and why it is crucial for policy-makers and commissioners to understand its role.
  • Hear how increased demand, funding issues and patient factors shape the reality of serving in primary care. 
  • Discover what primary care networks (PCNs) are and what they will mean for general practice.

Speakers are:
Beccy Baird, Senior Policy Fellow, The King's Fund 
Harry Wyatt, GP Registrar

2.25pmQuestions and discussion


Breakout D: What are community health services?

Delegates can choose between breakouts D, E and F. 

2.50pmWelcome and introduction

2.55pmWhat are community health services?

Anna Charles, Senior Policy Adviser to the CEO, The King’s Fund
  • Discover the array of different services included in ’community health services‘, in community health care trusts and elsewhere, and how they connect with other parts of health and care.
  • Hear about the different professions that work in community health care and the role they play in health and social care.

3.05pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout E: What is patient involvement?

2.50pmWelcome and introduction

2.55pmPatients, communities and the NHS: building a person-centred health care system

Dan Wellings, Senior Fellow, The King’s Fund
  • Learn how patients and the public are involved at all levels of the NHS and social care and where they can effect change.
  • Hear about how the terms involvement, participation, engagement and co-production are used and what they mean for health and care.

3.05pmQuestions and discussion

Breakout F: What are mental health services?

2.50pmWelcome and introduction

2.55pmWhat are mental health services?

Helen Gilburt, Policy Fellow, The King’s Fund
  • Learn about the history of mental health support and provision, what it looks like now and who is included in the mental health workforce.
  • Discover how mental health services are increasingly being integrated with physical health to give a more person-centred holistic approach for patients and service users. 
  • Hear about the importance of investing in the prevention of mental ill health, especially in supporting children’s and young people’s mental health. 

3.05pmQuestions and discussion


Session five: Hot topics in health and care

3.40pmWelcome and introduction

3.45pmQuick-fire hot topics

  • Hear quick pitches from speakers on a key subject in today’s world of health and social care, including Brexit, the NHS long-term plan, primary care networks and much more.
  • Take the opportunity to ask our speakers questions and explore issues that have arisen throughout the day.
  • Make the most of our interactive session to consolidate your learning and get the answers you’re looking for.

4.15pmQuestions and discussion

4.45pmClose of conference


Please note, discounts will not be automatically applied to your booking. Please email us for the relevant promotional code or call the team on 020 7307 2409.

Group discounts

10 per cent discount for 3-4 people.
15 per cent discount for 5-6 people.
20 per cent discount for 7 or more people.

Student discounts

Receive 50 per cent off if you're a student in full-time education. 

Bursaries for patients and carers

We offer a limited number of bursary (free) places for our conferences. These are reserved for patients and carers. To apply for a bursary for this event, please send us an email

Register now

Can I pay by invoice? 

Yes. Please select your tickets and once you're through to the registration form, you can amend the 'payment method' from credit card to 'pay by invoice'. Please note, there is a £20 surcharge to cover the cost of processing invoices. This is in addition to the ticket price and will be added to your invoice. There is no charge for paying by debit or credit card. 

Contact us

Programme enquiries

Email Caroline Viac.

Booking enquiries

Email the events team
or call 020 7307 2409

Sponsorship and exhibition enquiries

Email Chris Lazenby.