Happy Birthday to our fabulous NHS!
The National Health Service (NHS) was born on the 5th July 1948 as a publicly funded healthcare system. The NHS covers England, Scotland, Wales and in Ireland they have what they call ‘health and social care’ which is similar to our NHS.
Our Health Secretary at the time Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at the Park Hospital in Manchester, now called the Trafford General. Furthermore, the first patient treated in the NHS was 13-year-old Sylvia Diggery with a liver condition.
Today, there are many people out there who think our NHS should be replaced with a private service. So let’s have a look at costing to our NHS, and what costs you might pay if you were to pay privately. Firstly, between 2018 / 2019 our department of health spent around £130 billion; £2.9 billion of this was just the running of the NHS with 44.9% spent on staffing alone. So, let’s break some things down (all facts from The Kings Fund 2020)
- Cost of an A&E admission: Varies between £45 – £400
- The average cost of an ambulance trip to A&E (as of 2017/2018) was £252 – Which has probably gone up since then
- The cost of a tonsillectomy on a child: £1,190
- Coronary Artery Bypass: £9,916
- A hip replacement costs between £6,068 and £11,632!
- A 9 minute appointment with your GP: £37.40
Imagine having to pay £37.40 each time you wanted to see your GP! Would this make you more reluctant to go? What sort of issues could this cause? On one hand, people paying their on way might be a bonus for some (mainly those who can afford it). However on the other hand, I know myself and my family wouldn’t be able to afford those prices! (I know there’s more to it to take into consideration, like health insurance and different ways of running things privately… ) I come from a poorer back ground, no one in my direct family owned their own house, working in ‘unskilled’ jobs and we have to work and save hard for what we have. I remember on my 21st birthday (15.5 years ago), my mother surprised me with a fabulous present; The entire Friends DVD box set. It was the first time she had seen real emotion from me. I sat and sobbed, not because I loved Friends that much, but because I knew she would have worked extra shifts to be able to ever afford something like that. £200 would probably have been her whole weeks wages! So, for me, I am grateful for our amazing NHS – I stand today proud that I work as part of the NHS. I really hope people see the above prices and take a moment to appreciate how amazing it is to have such a privilege in our country. Not only that, but during the COVID-19 pandemic how amazing our NHS has been! Putting themselves on the front line of it all, risking their lives to save another. There’s one particular nurse I want to thank here, my amazing friend Marsha. I met Marsha at university, she’s a strong, beautiful nurse now working in our NHS. She fought hard to come into the UK from her home town – Jamaica to be part of the UK and I am so thankful she did. Despite her challenges, she stands proud today as a nurse! During this pandemic, I spoke with Marsha, and she had told me about the lack of PPE where she works. I said to her: ‘But this is your life you’re risking, you need to make sure you are safe too!’ Her response was: ‘I could never leave a patient suffering, I came into nursing to save lives and that’s what I will do. Who else will look after them otherwise?’ Her words echo through my soul daily. They make me proud, proud of her, myself and colleagues at what we are all doing and continue to do daily.
Another nurse who inspires me and makes me proud is Ann-Marie Dodson, my old lecture at BCU and now friend (pretty much family!) She is an amazing nurse, fabulous lecture and goes above and beyond for everyone she meets. She does so much for charity, students and inspires so many nurses. Ann is another one who has had her life challenges, but uses them to achieve and do more for others. She’s incredible and I am so proud of her.
I would be here all day, if I go through every single person who inspires me and it will send you to sleep haha. But ,whatever your role is in our NHS, thank you! Thank you for being amazing, thank you for enabling our services to run as they should. Yes we might have long waiting times, yes we may get some things wrong at times, but everyone is doing their absolute best and it’s a free service for all. I thank every single person from porter, to cook, to housekeeping, to healthcare assistant, nurse, top consultants to chief execs and higher. Without you, our wonderful NHS couldn’t run. Each role is just as important as the other, and each role plays their part in helping others. I salute you all and thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I may not have met some of you reading this, but you are in my thoughts every day and you will have made a huge difference to someones life what ever role you have played.
So Happy Birthday NHS! Let’s keep our NHS alive. Let’s build each other up, support one another, keep each other motivated and inspired. Our NHS was built to help those who need it most regardless of their status. An NHS birthday wish for me would be to keep that going, not just for patients but for your colleagues too.