5 July 2023 marks the 75th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS).
When it was founded in 1948, the NHS was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery. Today, 90% of people agree that healthcare should still be free of charge, 84% think that care should be available to everyone and that the NHS makes them most proud to be British.
At the forefront of innovation in care
The NHS has always evolved and adapted to meet the needs of each successive generation, delivering several medical advances:
· Britain’s first heart transplant in 1958
· The world’s first CT scan on a patient in 1971
· The world’s first test-tube baby born in 1978
· The world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant in 1987
· The world’s first national meningitis C vaccine in 1999
New treatments have been pioneered, such as bionic eyes, the world’s first rapid whole genome sequencing service for seriously ill babies and children, and robotics systems which help to treat patients and get them back to their homes in less than 24 hours after surgery.
We have set up integrated care systems across England, bringing health and care organisations together to address health inequalities and plan services to better meet the needs of our number one priority – our patients.
During the pandemic, the NHS played a crucial role in researching and finding the world’s first effective treatment for Covid-19 and making it available across every hospital the same day it was approved.
Working collaboratively to deliver population-level improvements
Our staff are proud to have played a part in this prestigious history. Established in 2013, Transformation Partners in Health and Care Consulting was one of the first internal NHS consultancies, with the ambition to help transform services and improve outcomes across health and social care in England.
Since that time, we’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder across health and care systems, groups, trusts and regional and national NHS organisations, to deliver large-scale patient and process improvements. Our efforts have included working with Sport England to incorporate physical activity in mental health treatment, supporting an award-winning anti-racism framework for maternity services in London, and helping to launch the world’s first long-range zero-emission ambulance at COP 26.
Our TPHC Partnerships team was established in 2015 in response to the NHS Five Year Forward View and Better Health For London, with the aim of making London the healthiest global city. This was a bold step by London health and care leaders to create a joint, citywide transformation unit to make progress on London’s specific population health challenges. We’ve worked closely with London’s NHS, London Councils, the Mayor of London, and other organisations and individuals to address the health and care challenges facing London. Our programmes have a daily impact on London life, from cancer services, mental health, children and young people’s health to homeless health and more.
Programmes are widely recognised across the Capital. ThriveLDN, a citywide public mental health partnership manages several campaigns including suicide prevention. Since ThriveLDN’s launch, over 1.3 million people have taken part in the support available. Fast Track Cities is a partnership initiative aimed at work together as a city to get to zero new HIV infections, zero HIV-related preventative deaths and zero HIV-related stigma before 2030. Over the past three years, over 5,950 people were tested for HIV as a result of various community projects and over 1,000 people received psychosocial support, with clinical referrals to peer support services up 12-fold.
The future of health and care
The population of England has grown by almost 3.5 million in the past decade, and as a nation, we are living longer than ever before with almost one in five of the population aged 65 and over. It is also the most diverse our nation has ever been, with 1 in 6 people in England from minority ethnic backgrounds.
As we look ahead, embracing innovation is critical in enabling the NHS to deliver better outcomes for our growing population. That means using IT and data more effectively; further integrating health and social care and getting better at preventing illness, not just treating it.
Join the celebration
Treating over a million people a day, the NHS remains a constant presence throughout our lives and now is the chance to celebrate with us. I encourage you to play a role in supporting the NHS in this special birthday year – why not join the NHS Parkrun? take part in the NHS 1,000 miles challenge? or give blood? (one hour of your time can save up to three lives).
However you decide to celebrate, I wish you health and happiness.
Managing Director of Transformation Partners in Health and Care