The NHS is mainly funded from general taxation and National Insurance contributions. Small amounts each year come from patient charges for services like optical care, prescriptions and dental care. The decision about how much money parliament will give to the Department of Health to spend on the NHS in England is made as part of the Spending Round process.
While the NHS has never been entirely publicly funded, the percentage of funding from National Insurance and general taxation is at an all-time high. An increase to National Insurance rates in 2001, designed mainly to give a boost to NHS funding, led to the balance between National Insurance and general taxation changing, although general taxation still accounts for around 80 per cent of all NHS funding.