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75 years of the NHS


5 July 2023 marked 75 years of the National Health Service.

The NHS affects every aspect of our lives, treating more than a million people daily in England. The NHS was the first system of universal access to healthcare that was free at the point of delivery when it was established in 1948. Nine out of ten people today believe that healthcare should be provided without charge, more than four out of five believe that everyone should have access to treatment, and the NHS is what makes them most proud to be British.

Since 1948, the NHS has always evolved and adapted to meet the needs of each successive generation.

From Britain’s first kidney transplant in 1960, to Europe’s first liver transplant in 1968.

From the world’s first CT scan on a patient in 1971, revolutionising the way doctors examine the body, to the world’s first IVF test-tube baby born in 1978 (referred to in the media at the time as ‘test-tube’ baby).

Large-scale vaccination programmes protected children from whooping cough, measles and tuberculosis, and in 1999 the meningitis C vaccine was offered nationally in a world first.

The NHS has delivered huge medical advances, including the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant in 1987, pioneering new treatments, such as bionic eyes and, in more recent times, the world’s first rapid whole genome sequencing service for seriously ill babies and children.

Having an NHS today is helping with the most ambitious catch-up programme in health service history. Last summer, hospitals across England worked together to ensure that the longest waits for elective care were virtually eliminated, and eighteen-month waits fell from a high of almost 125,000 to under 33,000 by February 2023.

According to the most recent statistics, England's population has increased by approximately 3.5 million over the previous ten years, and our country as a whole is living longer than ever. With nearly one in five of the population being 65 years of age or older, we are starting to see more people in older age groups, and this trend is projected to continue. One in six of the population in England comes from a minority ethnic background, making it the most varied our nation has ever been.

Everywhere you look, innovation is helping the NHS rise to these challenges, easing pressures and providing ground-breaking diagnosis and treatments.

Click the button below to Watch Great Britain’s sporting heroes mark the 75th birthday of the NHS by sharing their own personal stories of thanks for the much-loved British institution

British Sporting Stars United to Celebrate NHS's 75th Birthday


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