This year, on Wednesday 5 July the NHS is celebrating a big birthday – an amazing 75 years old.
Formed at a time of great uncertainty in 1948 but created with optimism and hope the founding principles of the NHS remain as relevant and valued today as they did then. While a lot has changed over the past seven decades, the NHS has remained a constant in all our lives – a true British institution. One that has no doubt, touched all our lives at some point.
Today the NHS in England treats 1.3 million people a day.
The NHS continues to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of each successive generation and while technological and medical advancements have enabled us to provide better healthcare. One thing has remained constant, our patients remain at the heart of everything we do.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of the people who work and volunteer in the NHS.
In Somerset there are around 17,000 people who work for the NHS in some capacity– from the midwives who help bring new life into the world to the nurses, doctors and specialists who care for us in our time of need, from our GPs and pharmacists who are our first port of call when we are unwell, to the porters, cleaners, receptionists and the thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers who help keep everything moving. Our people, represented by over 200 nationalities, are the driving force.
This year, as we commemorate this significant anniversary, we are celebrating the positive impact the NHS in Somerset has had on all our lives.
Shelagh Meldrum, Chief Nursing Officer, NHS Somerset said, “I have loved nursing since the first day of my training. My career in health has spanned several roles both nursing and non-nursing but being a nurse has kept me focussed on what we are here for – to care for people.
“Since I began my nurse training in 1987, going on to work as a senior nurse in acute medicine before becoming a specialist nurse in neurology and then into executive director roles – I have seen many changes both from a medical as well as a technological perspective, all of which seek to improve the care and treatment we provide and the outcomes for those who use our services.
“I am incredibly proud to have spent 22 years working for such a wonderful British institution, one which is by our side during the most profound moments in our lives and at its heart, is driven by one collective ambition – to care for patients.
“This year we want to celebrate the NHS and all it has achieved so this is a chance for people from across Somerset to help us build a picture of the impact it has had on their lives.
“We are keen to hear from people who have worked or are working in the NHS, hear their stories and find out what makes them do what they do, as well as hearing from past and present patients – whether they were born the same year the NHS was, or they simply want to talk about the care they have received – every story matters.”
Today we cannot imagine life without the NHS. As we mark the 75th anniversary – we are not only looking back, but we are also looking ahead to the opportunities we have to help shape the future.
We can all play a role in supporting the NHS in this special birthday year. So, if you have a reflection, memory, or story you would like to share, we encourage you to get in touch – we want to build a picture of Somerset from across the years so we can celebrate all that we have achieved.
If you have a story or memory to share, we would love you to get in touch!
You can email your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org – these will be collected and displayed in the run up to the anniversary.