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Happy 74th Birthday NHS!

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5th July 2022, the National Health Service (NHS) marks its 74th year of operation in the U.K. Since its post-war emergence in 1948, its mission to provide accessible healthcare to everybody – no matter their financial situation – has persevered through the decades. Every anniversary that the NHS reaches is cause for celebration!



The history of the NHS

The NHS was launched by Aneurin Bevan, the Minister for Health in Clement Attlee’s post-war government. The launch was not unexpected, as various influential figures and groups had been campaigning for better access to healthcare for years prior. The inequality in healthcare in Britain was already the subject of discontent in the general population, but the injuries and fatalities of the Second World War exacerbated the need for a better system.

Upon its launch, three essential values were conveyed by which the NHS would operate: it should help everybody without discrimination, it should be free and it should be provided based on need, without financial consideration.


Did you know?

  • The very first patient to be treated by the NHS was 13-year-old Sylvia Diggory
  • The first heart transplant in the UK took place on 3rd May 1968 at London’s National Heart Hospital
  • The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours
  • In 1978, Louise Brown, the world’s first baby IVF baby, was born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester


NHS Parliamentary Awards

On the NHS’ 70th birthday in 2018, the NHS Parliamentary Awards were launched, in a bid to show recognition and appreciation for the people who make the NHS the success that it is. The awards are a wonderful opportunity for healthcare organisations to highlight their amazing work to their local MPs as well as the wider community.

NHS Big Tea

In honour of the NHS’ 74th year in service, NHS Charities Together is organising a ‘Big Tea’ – rallying up individuals and organisations across the country to host their own tea parties.

Photo Credit: NHS Big Tea

Described as an ‘outpouring of gratitude’, the NHS Big Tea aims to bring people together, both within healthcare services and in wider communities. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, support for the NHS reached a new high, with ‘clap for the NHS/carers’ becoming a weekly event and NHS charity fundraisers, like the one by the late Sir Captain Tom Moore, getting millions of pounds in donations.

Regardless of whether you’re part of a healthcare organisation, a business in a different sector, or even if it’s just you and your friends, anyone and everyone can sign up to host an NHS Big Tea Party to raise money for the NHS Charities Together. Sign up here

You can also search online to see if there are any events already being organised in your local area. You might want to volunteer, attend the party, or even get your mixing bowls out and bring a cake with you!


More about NHS Charities Together

NHS Charities Together operates as a national independent charity which provides support to the NHS along with a network of over 250 charities across the UK. Their aim is ‘to help the NHS be the best it can be.’


Showing our support

Each year on the NHS’ birthday, thousands of people take to social media to show their appreciation for the service. Whether they have bandaged a broken bone, put a dressing on a wound, helped you to access mental health services, delivered your baby, or even saved your life, almost everyone will encounter the NHS at some point. Particularly during the last few years, NHS staff have been there for us at a time when the whole country was stuck at home.

Using hashtags on social media such as #HappyBirthdayNHS, #NHSBigTea and #ThankYouNHS helps your social media posts to be seen, especially by NHS workers. Whilst they do not do their jobs for the credit alone, it’s always appreciated to get a thank you and to see the impact their work has.

Almost everyone will encounter the NHS at some point and it is important
on the NHS’s birthday we say a special thank you for all the service does.

Though the NHS has had its struggles over the decades, at the heart of the service is patient care, and the floods of stories that emerge from grateful ex-patients each year on the NHS’ birthday are testament to the way that NHS staff live the services’ values. Few countries can boast a healthcare system quite like the NHS and that is certainly a cause for celebration!

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