Yesterday our national treasure that is the National Health Service turned 70! That is quite an achievement since a lot of things have tried and are actively trying to tear it apart. It was formed back in 1948 on (obviously) the 5th of July as part of the social reforms after the Second World War.
At its launch by Aneurin Bevan on 5 July 1948 it had at it’s heart three core principles:
- That it meet the needs of everyone,
- That it be free at the point of delivery,
- That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
Three years after the founding of the NHS, Bevan resigned from the Labour government as he opposed the introduction of charges for the provision of dentures and glasses. The following year, Winston Churchill’s Conservative government introduced prescription charges. These charges were the first of many controversies over reforms to the NHS throughout its history and still are a heated topic today; although as an ostomate amongst other conditions we are currently lucky to receive these for free.
We all have a lot to thank the NHS for and at its most basic the fact that we are here as the majority of us will have been born in an NHS hospital. The appointments at the doctor’s surgery, the impromptu visit to A&E, visiting loved ones who are receiving round the clock care from doctor’s, nurses, specialist staff, health care assistants and even those that you forget that are often employed by the NHS the catering and cleaning staff.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the NHS, not that my Ulcerative Colitis would have necessarily killed me but if I had to carry on in the agony I was in I would have ended my life and I think my family at least would have understood as I was really suffering. I am also very lucky to be able to access the mental health services via the NHS too.
We need to band together as one and fight those trying to dismantle what truly makes Great Britain GREAT, focus on the good points like the fact there are so many staff in hospitals all over the country raising money for their own equipment showing that despite the budget cuts they believe in our health service and want to offer the best care regardless! For instance my local hospital The Friarage, has been for years raising money for it’s own MRI scanner rather than sending patients up to the sister hospital in the next county which has a stupid waiting list. In fact one of the general surgeons who helped diagnose my UC painted stunning pictures and sold them off to the public all funds going to the appeal (my parents own at least one!)
The NHS itself definitely isn’t broken or corrupt as despite many attempts to break it, it’s still here 70 years on – we just need to show it some love like it has shown us. Let’s face it those of us that have been poorly would have spent way more than what we have paid in via our national insurance.
Here is to 70 more amazing years, thank you for everything our amazing National Health Service. Many wouldn’t realise what we have until you were gone