Help us celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS
The National Health service is turning 70 on 5th July 2018. It's the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation's most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and than the extraordinary NHS Staff - the everyday heroes - who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.
What a history
On 5 July 1948, the NHS was launched by the then Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan, at Park Hospital in Manchester (known today as Trafford General Hospital.
For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella to provide services for free at the point of delivery.
The last 70 years
Over the last 70 years, the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation and become the envy of the world.
The NHS 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 all but eradicated diseases such as polio and diphtheria, and pioneered new treatments like the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant.
In more recent times, we have seen innovations like mechanical thrombectomy to improve stroke survival, bionic eyes to restore sight, and surgical breakthroughs such as hand transplants.
The NHS Choices website includes an overview of the milestones of the NHS in England from its launch in 1948 to the present day.
In addition, the Nuffield Trust has produced an interactive timeline which charts the evolution of the NHS from its inception in the post-war years through to today.
As well as celebrating the NHS’s 70th birthday, 2018 also marks the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks, London. Many of the passengers took up roles in the NHS, which launched two weeks later.
Find out more about the history of our hospitals here:
Did you know?
- The NHS in England treats more than 1.4 million patients every 24 hours.
- The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world, along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Indian railways and the Wal-Mart supermarket chain.
- The NHS in England is expected to spend £126 billion in 2018/19
- There are more than 7,400 GP practices in England
- In March 2017, the NHS employed 106,430 doctors, 285,893 nurses and health visitors, 21,597 midwives, 132,673 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff (across England’s hospital and community healthcare services (full-time equivalent))
- There are more than 100 volunteering roles within health and social care
- There were 16 million total hospital admissions in England in 2015/16, 28 per cent more than a decade earlier
- The total annual attendances at England’s accident and emergency departments was 23 million in 2016/17, 23.5 per cent higher than a decade earlier
- In comparison with the healthcare systems of ten other countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and USA) the NHS was found to be the most impressive overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2017.
Support the NHS
The NHS plays an important role in our lives.
It is there for us in good times and bad, and since its launch it has relied on the public for support. As the service turns 70, we are reminding people about the many ways they can help and support the NHS:
Read our former staff's memories of their training and times on the ward
Click here to read them.