What is your overall aim?

We want to help people working in health care practice and policy to create a health care system of the highest possible quality in the UK. For us ‘quality’ means providing care that is safe, effective, person-centred, timely, efficient and equitable.

We carry out research and in-depth policy analysis, fund improvement programmes to put ideas into practice in the NHS, support and develop leaders and share evidence to encourage wider change.

We work across three areas: improving health care, improving public policy and improving population health – all with the aim of improving the quality of health and health care in the UK.

What do you do?

  • We fund improvement projects and programmes in the NHS, through our grants, giving people in the health service the resources to improve the quality of care.
  • We build skills in quality improvement through our leadership fellowships.
  • We conduct research and in-depth policy analysis.
  • We are developing the academic field of improvement science – contributing to a growing body of evidence about what works, and what doesn’t, to improve the quality of care.
  • We design improvement programmes to test and develop ideas to improve health care in practice.
  • We share what we’ve learnt about improving health care quality with those working at the frontline of delivery, as well as policy makers at a national level. 
  • We support better policy making in health and social care.
  • We are developing what our role will be in improving population health

Who do you work with?

We work with people and organisations from across the UK health system – from clinicians and managers through to the charity sector, patient organisations, academics, national bodies and policy makers. We also work with people and organisations from around the world who have an interest in how to improve the quality of health care. We have more detail on the principles that govern who we work with.

How are you funded?

We’re not a government body and we don’t take donations. We are an independent charity funded by our endowment, which is currently around £800m. 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.

We have no ongoing relationship with PPP or any other private health care company. We are accountable only to our independent board of charitable trustees and we are proud of our independence.

We also receive a small quantity of our income through our co-ownership of the BMJ Quality & Safety journal and grants from other organisations.

How does the Health Foundation invest its endowment?

Our 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 linked to any political party and we are completely independent of the government. We do, however, work actively to inform government (and other organisations’) policy and political debate by sharing the learning from our improvement programmes, research and policy analysis.

How do you manage potential conflicts of interest?

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

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 searchable directory.

Do you do any international work?

We are interested in how we can use lessons from overseas to improve the quality of health care here in the UK. More information will be available about this soon.

Can anyone apply for funding?

We have an ongoing programme of research and improvement project grants that people and teams can apply for. The application criteria vary between grants so be sure to read the application documents carefully. Find out about our current funding opportunities or sign up to receive updates when new funding opportunities become available.

Do you fund individuals/leadership opportunities?

Yes, as part of our range of fully funded quality improvement fellowships. Find out more about our different fellowships:

You can sign up to receive updates on when our fellowships are open for application through our email alerts.

Do you accept funding proposals outside of your grant programmes?

We give grants through our established funding programmes – sign up for a website account to receive alerts when new funding opportunities go live.

To help further our mission to improve the quality of health and health care in the UK, we may on occasion choose to make a grant outside of our funding programmes.

We do not consider unprompted requests or proposals for funding. 

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.

The journal aims to advance research and generate new thinking in the areas of quality and safety of health care, and the science of improvement.

Can I sign up to hear when new funding and fellowships are 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 health care topic, as well as news items and our latest content.

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You can also keep in touch through a series of email alerts. Find out more and register for an account.

How can I stay in touch?

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