The National Health Service (NHS) is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. Only the English NHS is officially called the National Health Service, the others being NHS Scotland and NHS Wales. Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland is called the HSC rather than the NHS.
Each system operates independently, and is politically accountable to the relevant government: the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, or the UK government (for the English NHS).
Despite their separate funding and administration, there is no discrimination when a resident of one country of the United Kingdom requires treatment in another although a patient will often be returned to their home area when they are fit to be moved. The financial and administrative consequences are dealt with by the organisations involved and no personal involvement by the patient is required.
A new quarterly report looking into NHS dental activity has found that almost one million more people in England have had check-ups compared to the same period five years ago.
A total of 29.1 million patients were seen and given a dental examination in the last two years - 967,000 more than the baseline figure in March 2006.
It means the percentage of the population seen by an NHS dentist (56.2 per cent) has exceeded the baseline level (55.8 percent) for the very first time.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, was pleased to hear that more people now have access to NHS dentistry and expects it to make a difference to the country's oral health.
There is a definitive correlation between the number of patients seen and the Courses of Treatment. If more people go to the dentist on a regular basis then the likelihood is that the amount of dental work you will need will be decreased.
Of course, regular dental visits are to go alongside a healthy oral health routine, brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cutting the frequency of sugary foods and drinks. These are the message we are trying to get out there during this year's National Smile Month.
National Smile Month is campaign run by the Foundation between May 15 and June 15 and aims to promote the positive oral health messages. Now into its 35th year, the campaign raises awareness of a healthy diet and the link between good oral health and good overall body health.