UK: NHS Charities: An Untapped Resource

Last Updated: 30 September 2019
Article by Alistair Robertson

NHS charities say their potential to make important contributions to patient care is underused. We look at the new initiatives hoping to change that...

There are around 250 official NHS charities that collectively raised some £466 million last year to enhance patient care. That puts them high up the health charity league table ahead of the likes of Macmillan (£253 million) and the British Heart Foundation (£170 million). Yet Ellie Orton, Chief Executive Officer at the Association of NHS Charities, now known as NHS Charities Together, says too few people, including those in the NHS, know of their existence.

She cites research, carried out in January, in which two-thirds of adults questioned said that they were aware of NHS charities, however, when those same people were asked to name them, nearly 60% named a non-NHS but health-related charity, such as the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK or Macmillan. Even more telling, the survey results from NHS staff demonstrated that only a third knew NHS charities had funded improvements in their hospital.


Orton says the NHS Long Term Plan makes it clear that trusts need to engage with the local community including charitable institutions. "One of our key priorities is for NHS charities to be seen as a key strategic partner with their trusts. NHS charities give £1 million every day to the NHS; fundraising in the sector has increased over the last 10 years by 200% from £122 million in 2010 to now over £460 million.

"This is an amazing opportunity for charities and trusts to unlock their potential and it comes with the full backing of NHS England," says Orton. "We hope, by demonstrating how NHS charities are helping trusts implement the Long Term Plan, it will raise the profile of charities so that trusts say 'oh yes we have one of those, together we can do more'."

Last year the NHS 70th anniversary celebrations proved an ideal time to mobilise collectively to raise the profile of NHS charities, which arranged some 4,000 different events across the NHS and raised £250,000. This year NHS Charities Together launched the NHS Big Tea as an annual fund and awareness raiser celebrating the official birthday of the NHS on July 5th. In its first year some 100 NHS charities raised £150,000 and achieved over 350,000 twitter impressions. Celebrity supporters, including Good Morning TV's Dr Ranj Singh and Casualty actor Charles Venn, have also helped raise awareness.

So why does Orton think some trusts do more with their charities than others? "Independence has given these NHS charities increased opportunity to raise funds, invest in key areas of work to enhance patient care and experience, and to begin to measure the impact of this extra funding."


Orton wants to see more charities measuring the impact of their work: "NHS trusts measure the impact of treatments and provision, but we have not always been good at measuring the impact of how an NHS charity grant or donation has made a difference to patients and staff. We are beginning to do more of this though, collecting qualitative data through case studies and quantitative through staff/patient surveys.

"Recently 10 NHS charities participated in a pilot joint impact measurement project. Results showed that over 90% of NHS staff said that NHS charities that invested in building improvements or new equipment had enhanced the care they give to patients."

DAC Beachcroft Partner and charity specialist, Alistair Robertson, says many trust boards can look again at their charities to see how they could be of mutual support. "We have all seen the success of very high profile charities like Great Ormond Street's, but charities supporting more locally-focused trusts also have a vital role to play not only in raising one-off or continued funding, but also in raising the profile of the trust and the NHS. Charities should also take every opportunity to assess the impact of their donations and make this public. There are still different governance models available for NHS charities, and the model adopted can have a big impact on the operational independence and profile of the charity. If an NHS charity hasn't considered for a while whether its governance model is the right fit, now would be a good time to do so."

Debbie Paterson, Policy and Technical Manager at the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), says that many NHS bodies are corporate trustees of NHS charities, which manage funds donated by patients and families: "They give a lot of very worthwhile support. Some NHS charities fund schemes would be seen as nice to have, while some are for things that are very much needed, so it's a mixed bag."

As registered charities, she says it is a legal requirement that they operate independently to meet their charitable purpose of supporting the NHS and NHS patients.


Paterson adds that NHS bodies are corporate trustees of funds donated by patients and families and that it is a legal requirement of charities to operate independently with the charitable purpose of supporting the NHS and NHS patients: "There is a big issue as to whether funds from charitable sources could be consolidated into capital spending. However, that could present problems in terms of hitting the Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit (CDEL).

"It's interesting to note that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has recently investigated Tayside Health Board for using its charitable funds to retrospectively fund schemes to try to improve its financial position as that blurred the line between exchequer and charitable funds."

Paterson notes that NHS charities with an NHS body as their corporate trustee are consolidated into the Department of Health and Social Care's (DHSC) accounts, "so expenditure funded by them will impact on the DHSC's performance against its expenditure limits".

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions