Happy Birthday NHS

6th July 2018

Across the UK, people are celebrating the NHS’ 70th birthday. This week Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health reflects on the importance of our Health and Social Care services and the difference it is making to people’s lives.

Yesterday marked 70 years since the creation of a National Health Service in the UK.  In 1948 then Minister for Health Aneurin Bevan founded the NHS on the principal that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery and based on clinical need, not the ability to pay.  He once stated:

no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”

Today the NHS is the envy of the world.

On a daily basis I hear from people across Northern Ireland about their experiences of Health and Social Care. The majority of people are very grateful for the care they have received and are positive about their experiences of local health and social care services.  Often people will remember a nurse or doctor or volunteer or support staff that went the extra mile and made a big difference to their care.

This birthday gives me an opportunity to thank all the staff that work across Health and Social Care, often under difficult circumstances and with limited resources, to provide high quality care every single day. Equally, it is imperative to recognise the time and effort given by service users, carers and communities that are striving to improve our local services in a system that can be very slow to change. Together we can and do make a difference.

Yesterday the Patient and Client Council held an event with the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care in Stormont to celebrate this big milestone.  People from across Health and Social Care, service users, carers and politicians came together to give thanks to our NHS and to share their own stories and experiences of an institution that has touched all of our lives.

Happy birthday to the NHS. 

What are your stories of the NHS/HSC?  Do you have experience of health services prior to the NHS?  Has someone within HSC made a real difference to your life?  Share your experiences in the comments section below!