Happy Birthday NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) is turning 70 on 5 July 2018. The first patient to be treated on the new NHS was a 13-year old called Sylvia Beckingham who was admitted on the 5 July 1948 to a hospital in Manchester as a result a liver condition.

The idea of uniting all the country’s hospitals, clinics and doctor’s surgeries into one large state-run organisation had geminated during the Second World War when the sheer volume of war-injured personnel reduced the health service to near-bankruptcy. Then Britain’s 2,700 hospitals and clinics were either run by charities or local councils. But many were failing to generate enough income to continue to function.

In 1945 the new Labour government came in on a manifesto that promised a revolution in health care and the expectation that we would be the ‘envy of the world’. The setting up of the NHS was to be the role of the Labour health minister Aneurin Bevan. Bevan’s stated ambition was to build a health service on four key principles, it was to be free at the point of use, available to everyone who needed it, paid for out of general taxation and used responsibly.

Here at EDGE Services we are all very proud of the NHS and many of us have working knowledge of the organisation. We recognise it has delivered huge medical advances and improvements to public health, meaning we can all expect to live longer lives. It is thanks to the NHS that we have eradicated diseases such as polio and diphtheria and pioneered new treatments like the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant. The NHS continues to drive innovations in patient care including mechanical thrombectomy to improve stroke survival, bionic limbs to restore mobility, bionic eyes to restore sight and surgical breakthroughs such as hand transplants.

None of this would be possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of NHS staff as well as many thousands of volunteers that support them. The NHS is the UKs largest employer with over 1.5 million staff working in more than 350 different roles.

The history of the NHS is one of evolution of responding to the changing health needs of the nation. When the NHS was founded in 1948, the life expectancy for men was 66, and for women 71. Today those figures are 78.2 and 81.5. In 1948 there were 86 deaths per 100,000 total live births. Sixty years later there are just 6.2. The average child in 1948 would receive just two routine vaccinations: smallpox and diphtheria. By 2008 that list had grown to seven: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough, influenza, MMR and meningitis C.

We are so proud of the NHS achievements and would love to share with you stories from the EDGE team of their experiences of working there We will feature a new story each week starting on the 5th July. Please go to www.edgeservices.co.uk/news to read these.

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