Medsmart® celebrates NHS turning 70 today!
“The collective principle asserts that…no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.” – Aneurin Bevan (1)
The NHS, created on the 5th of July 1948 was lunched by the health sectary at the time, Aneurin Bevan. For the first time in British history healthcare professionals were brought together to provide a wide range of free healthcare to the public. The NHS was based on three key principles; To meet the needs of everyone, to be free at the point of delivery and that it was based on clinical need not the patient’s ability to pay (2).
70 years on the NHS has gone from strength to strength and in 2015 was the 5th largest employer in the wold with over 1.7 million employees (3). Although there are now 7 key principles they have all been developed with the original 3 at the core. Over the last 70 years the NHS has played a huge role in shaping healthcare around the world by providing a research rich environment. A study in 1954 by Sir Richard Doll using NHS patients linked smoking and lung cancer mortality, helping to change public perception on cigarettes (4). Thanks to the NHS’s robust vaccination programmes the number of cases of polio and diphtheria -which were once an epidemic- have been dramatically reduced (5).
The budget for the NHS was set at £437 million when it launched (adjusted to £15 billion with inflation) (6) by 2020 this is set to increase to £158.4 billion, this money is representative of approximately 7% of the gross domestic product (7).
To celebrate this milestone a range of initiative are being hosted throughout the nation, teachers and educators are educating children about the history of the NHS while encouraging them to consider a career in healthcare, there was a collaboration with park run which saw over 85,000 runners taking part in events on the 9th of June. Historic buildings around the country are lighting up in blue to mark the birthday (8). Each month of 2018 has been dedicated to a different section of the celebration which should also raise awareness for numerous health conditions and healthcare heroes working for the NHS, this started with the introduction in January, the current month of July is focusing on ‘Innovation and digital’ and the year will round up with the finale in December which is also aligned with the proposed release of the NHS’s Health Services App (9)(10).
- Pringle, E. (2018). History of the National Health Service.Available: https://www.britain-magazine.com/features/history/nhs-history/. Last accessed 4th July 2018.
- NHS Choices. (2018). Principles and values that guide the NHS.Available: https://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/about/Pages/nhscoreprinciples.aspx. Last accessed 3rd July 2018.
- McCarthy, N. (2015). The World’s Biggest Employers.Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2015/06/23/the-worlds-biggest-employers-infographic/#7c00e663686b. Last accessed 4th July 2018.
- Lechler, R. (2018). NHS at 70: Research benefits health.Available: https://acmedsci.ac.uk/more/news/nhs-at-70-research-benefits-health. Last accessed 3rd July 2018.
- NHS Choices. (2008). History of the NHS.Available: https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Documents/HistoryNHS.html. Last accessed 3rd July 2018.
- NHS Choices. (2016). About the National Health Service (NHS).Available: https://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/about/Pages/overview.aspx. Last accessed 3rd July.
- Appleby, J. (2018). 70 years of NHS spending. Available: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/70-years-of-nhs-spending. Last accessed 3rd July.
- NHS 70. (2018). Available: https://www.nhs70.nhs.uk/about/celebrations/. Last accessed 3rd July 2018.
- NHS England. (2018). NHS70: spotlight on our priorities.Available: https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs70/spotlight-series/. Last accessed 3rd July 2018.
- Government Computing. (2018). NHS Digital to launch new health services app in December.Available: https://www.governmentcomputing.com/applications/news/nhs-digital-launch-new-health-services-app-december. Last accessed 4th July 2018.