Happy 70th birthday, NHS

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service and patients, members of the public and NHS staff are celebrating the occasion.

Local NHS organisations and some GP surgeries are holding events to mark the seven decades since the NHS came into being on July 5, 1948, providing health services based on three key principles:

  • that it meet the needs of everyone
  • that it be free at the point of delivery
  • that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

When it launched, life expectancy was just under 66 for men and a little over 70 for women, compared with the most recent figures of more than 79 for men and 83 for women.

The NHS has helped to deliver and care for more than 48,000,000 babies, and infant mortality has dropped from 26,766 in 1948 to 2,711 nowadays, thanks in part to vaccination programmes.

The NHS launched with a budget of £437 million, compared with more than £124 billion today.

The NHS’ 70 years was highlighted at the recent annual general meeting of North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as well as at a special CCG display stand at Asda in Farnborough on Monday, July 2. Visitors to the stand contributed their own stories of how the NHS has improved or saved their lives, including a 90 year old former nurse who told us about the advances in health care she had seen over that time, and a lady who remembered the day the NHS was launched and how her brother was prescribed penicillin for free which saved his life.

Dr Peter Bibawy, acting Clinical Chair of the CCG, said: “Talking to local people it is clear how fundamental the NHS is to everybody and what a huge part it has played in all of our lives.

“It is held in such affection and it is a great privilege for those of us who work within the service, knowing the responsibility that we have to local people and the difference the services we create make to their lives.”

The CCG and its partners across the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System were invited to be involved in making a special film to be used nationally for NHS70. Filming took place in Aldershot Park on July 21, involving staff from various health and social care roles, as well as a number of Community Ambassadors (public volunteers).

The film will be launched today and we hope it will inspire everyone to share their own stories of what the NHS means to them.

Staff at the CCG will be holding a get-together and others have been invited to national celebration at Westminster Abbey and York Minster, to thank staff and to reflect on the achievements of the NHS nationally over the years.

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