As the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service approaches, we take a look back at how the NHS has adapted over the course of 70 years, and has risen to be one of the nation’s most loved institutions.
Over the course of the year, Clarity will be talking all things big and small that the NHS has given to us, and continue to give us, despite the many challenges it faces.
Where it all started
Born out of the long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth, it was founded on 5th July 1948 by Aneurin Bevin (then minister of health).
It was based on three core principles, which still live through the 6 values of the NHS today;
- that it meets the needs of everyone
- that it be free at the point of delivery
- that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay
Throughout its history, these three core principles have remained at the heart of the NHS.
Where is it now?
The NHS is now responsible for shaping our experiences of birth, life, health, sickness, and death.
It is still free at the point of use for all UK residents with the exception of some charges such as prescriptions, optical services, and dental services. This covers more than 64.6 million people in the UK, with England making up 54.3 million of that alone.
The NHS has revolutionised the way we receive health and social care in the UK and covers everything including routine screenings, transplants, emergency treatment, antenatal appointments, treatments for long-term conditions and end-of-life care.
A well-balanced blend
Not only has ground-breaking technology shaped new paths for health care, but equaled with unparalleled levels of compassion, skill & drive from 1.5million staff it provides a health and social care system that is held in high esteem internationally, despite the pressure from unprecedented demand for services.
It is with thanks to this alliance that the UK has seen huge medical advances over the course of its time. We can now expect to live longer, and diseases such as diphtheria and polio have been eradicated to diseases of the past. Once ground-breaking treatments such as the world’s first IVF baby and the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant, are now everyday occurrences.
Through extensive research and no-doubt endless patience, we are continuing to leave no stone unturned in a bid to living longer, healthier, more pain-free lives.
The history of the NHS is one of evolution, of responding to the changing needs of the nation. Today’s NHS is rising to the challenge of a growing and aging population, which means pressures on the service are greater than they have ever been.
On behalf of all of us at Clarity, we want to thank the NHS for everything it does. Long may the NHS continue.