NHS bosses are leading celebrations of the health service’s 75th anniversary today.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard has hailed the health service on its 75th anniversary[/caption]
Aneurin “Nye” Bevan launched the NHS at Park hospital in Davyhulme, Manchester, on July 5, 1948[/caption]
During that time, the NHS has been a shining light globally, being at the forefront of medical revolutions.
From the roll-out of the contraceptive pill in 1961 to seeing the first person in the world receive a licensed Covid vaccine on December 8, 2020, the health service has been central to advances in care.
Here, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard shares her thoughts as the health service celebrates an historic landmark.
‘The NHS’s history has always been one of innovation’
Today we mark the 75th anniversary of our NHS.
A day to reflect on the achievements of our incredible staff and volunteers – but also look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.
The NHS has chalked up many milestones over its first three quarters of a century, leading the world not just in free access to healthcare but in game-changing innovations too.
The world’s first test-tube baby. The first modern hip replacement. The first CT scan. The first heart surgery carried out by a remote-controlled robot.
It was the NHS’s ability to respond at scale that enabled us to lead the fightback against the pandemic, by connecting over 170 sites and datasets to help find the first effective treatment — thought to have saved over a million lives worldwide.
These global breakthroughs were all thanks to having one single national health service.
So too was the delivery of the world’s first Covid vaccine outside of a clinical trial, part of a record-breaking roll out that combined pace with precision to ensure the most vulnerable were protected first.
And we can use the purchasing power of a single national health service to drive a better deal for patients and taxpayers — with on average five therapies available to patients in England for every four across Europe, including a range of cancer drugs and other specialised treatments.
The NHS’s history has always been one of innovation, to meet the needs of each generation.
We are no longer the NHS of the iron lung and tuberculosis — but of genomic medicine, blood tests for cancer and virtual wards, where high-tech hospital care is delivered at home.
While so much has changed, what has always remained constant is the dedication, skill and compassion of our staff, who go the extra mile for patients and their families — day in, day out.
From midwives to GPs and pharmacists, nurses, doctors, porters, clinicians and cleaners, and the hundreds of thousands of other staff and volunteers, such as The Sun’s Jabs Army, I’d like to thank the millions up and down the country who have worked so tirelessly to innovate and improve services for patients.
Just as in 1948, and every year since, the NHS continues to face significant challenges – from recovering services after the pandemic to record demand, and keeping patients safe during strikes.
Despite these pressures, the NHS remains – overwhelmingly – the institution that makes the public most proud of our country.
We know we still have much to do. But thanks to our work to recover services, expand care in the community, boost training numbers for doctors, nurses and other health professionals and roll out of cutting edge technology and treatments, we’ll ensure the NHS continues to deliver high quality care for the British people for decades to come.
A health service built on founding principles that remain as relevant, and valued, as they were 75 years ago.
Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to get a licensed Covid vaccine in December 2020[/caption]
A patient is seen to at St Thomas’s Hospital in London in 1960 when the the building of the new hospital started[/caption]