Opinion: Thank you - celebrating 75 years of the NHS

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​Seventy-five years ago life in Britain was a very different place. Following the end of the Second World War, homelessness was rife, millions lived in squalor, education was poor, unemployment was high and the country was plagued by ill health.

The war had brought free healthcare to all and the general public wanted it to continue.

The idea for a national health care service was simple yet ambitious – free, universal and comprehensive healthcare for all at the point of delivery. The NHS would bring good healthcare to every person in the country.

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Through taxation, it was planned to group hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists together for the first time as part of a nationwide nationalisation. Health Secretary, Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan’s National Health Service Act passed in 1946 and officially came into force on July 5, 1948.

Today marks 75 years of the NHS. Picture: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.comToday marks 75 years of the NHS. Picture: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.com
Today marks 75 years of the NHS. Picture: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.com

By 1950, 17 million people across the UK receive NHS provided glasses and 9m were given false teeth. Many killer diseases like TB, polio, and diphtheria were also wiped out.

Years later and the NHS has been at the forefront of major medical, scientific, clinical, technological and workforce advances and breakthroughs.

It is one of the biggest employers in the world, employing 1.5 million people, treating 1m patients every 36 hours,

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And although it may have changed since Bevan’s original blueprint for a national health service, it still delivers the same exceptional, universal, free healthcare for all, guiding us through the biggest health crisis this country has seen in a century, at huge personal cost to many of its staff.And for that we say thank you and salute the hundreds of thousands of NHS heroes who work every day to keep us healthy.

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