Since its launch in 1948, the NHS has grown to become the world’s largest publicly funded health service. It is also one of the most efficient, egalitarian and comprehensive.The NHS was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth – a principle that remains at its core. With the exception of some charges, such as prescriptions and optical and dental services, the NHS remains free at the point of use for anyone who is a UK resident. That is currently more than 63.2 million people. It covers everything from antenatal screening and routine treatments for long-term conditions, to transplants, emergency treatment and end-of-life care.