The Health Foundation is an independent charity working to continuously improve the quality of heatlhcare in the UK

Frequently asked questions

What is your overall aim?

We want to help people create an excellent quality health service. For us ‘quality’ means providing safe, effective, prompt and efficient care, and treating everybody with dignity and respect.

Our ultimate aim is to inspire improvement throughout the UK’s health service. We fund individuals and teams in health services to contribute to this improvement. We also share the learning from these programmes and our research to influence policy and practice.

What do you do?

  • We fund projects to give people in the health service the resources to improve healthcare through our various improvement programmes.
  • We fund individuals in the health service through our leadership programmes.
  • We conduct research and put ideas into practice, sharing evidence to drive wider change.
  • We share new ideas and we design improvement programmes to test and develop ideas in practice.
  • We use what we’ve learnt to influence policy makers and those working in the health services to adopt ways of improving quality that we know work.

Find out more about our areas of work

Who do you work with?

We work with people across the health system – from clinicians and managers through to the charity sector, patient representative organisations, academics, national bodies and policy makers.

How are you funded?

We’re not a government body and we don’t take donations. We are funded by our endowment which is currently about £820m. Our endowment comes from a one-off charitable donation of £560m from the sale of the PPP Healthcare group in 1998 – one of the largest charitable donations in UK history.

How does the Health Foundation invest its endowment?

The Health Foundation’s approach to managing our endowment is to generate long term income and growth to enable us to fulfil our charitable purpose, while ensuring that our assets are managed responsibly. We require our investment managers to have an environmental, social and governance policy in place. Our approach to investment can be found in our investment policy.

Are you linked to any political party?

No, we aren’t and we’re completely independent of the government. We do, however, work actively to influence the government’s (and other organisations’) development of policy by sharing the learning from our improvement programmes and our research.

Do you have a conflicts of interest policy?

We have a conflicts of interest policy to ensure that the decisions taken by the Foundation are independent of outside interests and seen to be so. The policy is publicly available.

Do you run training courses?

No, we are not a training provider, although there is an element of training to most of our programmes and we provide leadership development support to our fellows for the duration of their funding. The amount of leadership development varies across different fellowship programmes:

Do you work across the whole of the UK?

Yes. To find out more about the projects and people that we fund, check out our interactive map.

Do you do any international work?

Our work mainly focuses on the four countries of the UK, however we have also funded a project to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in Malawi.

We are also looking at how we can use learning from overseas to improve the quality of healthcare. More information will be available about this soon.

Can anyone apply for funding?

We provide funding through our various programmes of work. Funding can be either for individuals or teams. The application criteria vary between programmes so be sure to read the application documents carefully. Find out about our current funding opportunities.

Do you fund individuals?

Yes, as part of our range of leadership programmes. Click on the following links to find out more about what each programme entails:

Once you’ve given out funding, do you monitor the progress of the project?

This varies between programmes, but we ask individuals or teams to report back to us regularly about their progress. We also run independent evaluations of many of our programmes - these are published and available to download.

What is your involvement in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal?

The Health Foundation co-owns the BMJ Quality and Safety journal with the BMJ Group. We aim to advance research and inspire fresh thinking in a rapidly expanding area of interest to clinicians, medical managers, and policy makers around the globe.

Can I sign up to hear when new funding is available?

Yes, if you register for an account you can choose to get alerts of ‘New programmes open for application’. We’ll then be in touch when new opportunities arise.

Do you have a regular newsletter?

Yes, we send out a monthly email newsletter. Each issue contains features, blogs and interviews based around a particular healthcare topic, as well as news items and our latest content.

How can I stay in touch?

As well as signing up for our newsletter (see above) you can also:

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