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Digital Learning Academy

NHS in England – Structure and Planning

It has never been more important to have a clear understanding of NHS structure and planning. This course starts with a straightforward introduction to the NHS in England. It goes on to provide the basic knowledge you need to work effectively with NHS clients, including an explanation of health service structure and core policies, and recent changes reflecting the impact of the pandemic.

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The learning modules of the NHS in England – Structure and Planning course explain the changing structure of the healthcare system, including integrated care systems (ICSs) and the policies set out in the NHS Long-term Plan (LTP). They also look into what is called the ‘NHS reset’ – the effort to embed the rapid restructuring implemented as part of the NHS response to covid-19 pandemic.

Course modules include:

Engaging with the NHS during the NHS reset and the pandemic – NEW MODULE

This new module helps industry to understand the four big areas of change taking place in the NHS – the pandemic response, the reset, the recovery and the NHS Long-term Plan. It examines how services have been transformed, what plans and guidance remain in place as well as providing helpful options for engaging with customers in this difficult and complicated period.

Introduction to the NHS in England

This module gives you a quick overview of the roles of the main organisations involved in buying and providing health services, how they are funded and how they operate.

Lesson topics include: commissioners, providers (including primary care networks), funding, regulation, how the health service is evolving in the long term and following the covid-19 pandemic.

Understanding Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

This concise module explains these new GP-led organisations providing services in the community. It outlines how the 1,259 PCNs are expected to work and is essential reading for those in industry seeking to engage with the health service at a local level.

Lesson topics include:  PCNs’ intended function, their structure, how PCNs are staffed and key job roles and PCN funding.

What is the structure of the NHS?

This module helps you navigate your way through the complex and evolving group of bodies that make up the health service, including the 42 systems, clinical commissioning groups and primary care networks. It will help you identify where contacts can be found in the structure and will be essential when aligning your organisation’s offer with NHS goals.

STPs and ICSs in the English NHS

England’s 42 healthcare systems are the building blocks of the health service in England. Some have already achieved ICS status. The rest are scheduled to become ICSs by April 2021.

In STPs and ICSs in the English NHS you will learn how local systems are formed of providers and clinical commissioners, what they are expected to achieve, and how they work. This knowledge will provide a valuable insight into your customers’ motivations and enable you to enhance your value proposition to the NHS.

The NHS Long-term Plan

If you need to understand what is driving healthcare organisations, restructuring and direction of the NHS you need to understand the NHS Long-term Plan (LTP). The LTP followed the Five year forward view policy and continues the ambition of integrating health and social care services, and increasing care delivery in the community.

This module provides an easy-read summary of the main NHS policies on finance and prevention, and for primary care and secondary care.


The NHS in England – Structure and Planning course is an integral part of our Market Access and Sales programme for industry. Each of the courses in the programme give you a thorough understanding of the NHS, its policy and structure for that area. With this in-depth knowledge you will gain credibility and confidence to engage effectively and strengthen NHS partnerships.

Complete the form below to find out more about everything the Digital Learning Academy has to offer and request a no-obligation demo.