The life line of the UK, NHS has turned 70 today. First established on July 5, 1948, the NHS for seven decades has helped save millions of lives at free of cost. Today it is the world’s one of the largest publicly funded health service which provides health and care services to more than 65 million people in the UK. Over these years NHS has evolved from introducing vaccination programme in 1950s to robotic surgeries carried out today.
On this occasion, we have found seven interesting facts about the NHS to celebrate its seven decades of service.
1. The oldest healthcare
Founded in 1948 by Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan, the NHS has always had the principal that the NHS should meet the needs of everybody and be free at the point of delivery. The NHS is the oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world and many other countries have since copied the structure of the NHS.
2. The largest employer in the world
The NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world along with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Indian railways and the Wal-Mart supermarket chain. It provides jobs for 1.3 million people, making it country’s largest employer. In March 2017 it employed 106,430 doctors, 285,893 nurses and health visitors, 21,597 midwives, 132,673 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff. Nurses make up the largest part of the workforce.
3. Provides care to millions
The NHS deals with over 1.5 million patients every 24 hours. NHS chiropodists inspect more than 150,000 pairs of feet every week and full-time GPs treat an average of 255 patients a week. Additionally, NHS ambulances make over 50,000 emergency journeys each week.
4. No prescription charges till 1952
Till 1952, the services including prescriptions were available completely free of cost. It was financed entirely from the taxation. Only after the spending exceeded than the expected, charges of one shilling (5p) for prescription was introduced and a flat rate of £1 for ordinary dental treatment. In protest of the introduction of prescription charges, Bevan, the founder member of NHS had resigned from the government. Prescription charges were abolished in 1965 and remained free until June 1968, when the charges were reintroduced.
5. The extraordinaire budget
In 1948, the NHS budget was £437 million. The budget is expected to increase from £120.512bn in 2016/17 to £123.202bn by 2019/20. About 99% of the budget comes from taxes while the rest comes from the other charges such as prescriptions for medicine, dentists, and opticians services.
6. Delivers world-class services
The Commonwealth Funds has ranked the NHS as the world’s best healthcare system in comparison with the healthcare systems of 10 other countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the US). The NHS is the most impressive overall and is rated as the best system in terms of efficiency, effective care, safe care, co-ordinated care, patient-centred care and cost-related problems. The 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony paid tribute to NHS through a performance.
7. World's first test-tube baby
Louise Joy Brown on July 25 1978 was the world's first test-tube baby. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is now common and since then, more than a million test tube babies have been born worldwide.