70 years ago, the National Health Service (NHS) was created. To mark the occasion, we’re looking back at its’ past, present and future.
The NHS was created on the 5th of July 1948, launched 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.
3 Key Principles
The NHS was based on three key principles:
- To meet the needs of everyone;
- To be free at the point of delivery;
- To be based on clinical need, not the patient’s ability to pay.
Although there are now 7 key principles, they have all been developed with the original 3 at the core.
70 years on, the NHS has gone from strength to strength. In 2015, the NHS was the 5th largest employer in the wold, with over 1.7 million employees.
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.
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.
The budget for the NHS was set at £437 million when it launched (adjusted to £15 billion with inflation). By 2020, this is set to increase to £158.4 billion – this money is representative of approximately 7% of the gross domestic product.
Celebrations & The Future
To celebrate this milestone, a range of initiatives are being hosted throughout the UK. For example:
- Young people are being taught about the history of the NHS, whilst being encouraged to consider a career in healthcare by teachers and educators.
- 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.
Each month of 2018 has been dedicated to a different section of the celebration, which also aims to raise awareness for numerous health conditions and healthcare heroes working for the NHS.
In the month of July, the NHS will focus on ‘Innovation and Digital’, ending in December, leading to its finale in January. These dates align with the proposed release of the NHS’s Health Services App.
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The Medsmart® Team