Celebrating 70 years of the NHS in West Sussex

NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG representatives at Westminster Abbey for the celebration service
NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG representatives at Westminster Abbey for the celebration service

Last Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS, when the health minister at the time, Aneurin Bevan, launched the tax-funded NHS to bring medical services together and provide free healthcare to all.

Within ten years, polio and diphtheria vaccines became available to children under 15, leading to a major fall of cases in both diseases.

In 1987, the world’s first heart, liver and lung transplant took place in Cambridge, and a year later free mammograms were introduced in a bid to reduce breast cancer deaths among women over 50.

Over the last week, people across the country have been celebrating the founding of the service and its rise to become the largest publicly-funded health service in the world.

More than a million patients are now dealt with by the NHS every 36 hours, according to latest statistics.

Chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, said the service’s success is due to the “brilliance” of its 1.5 million doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, therapists, porters, caterers and others who, along with volunteers, make up the biggest care team in the world.

There were services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster to thank staff and patients.

Representatives from NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group were lucky to join with colleagues from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust at a national celebration service at Westminster Abbey in London last Thursday.

In addition to health leaders, the service also had testimonies about the NHS from Olive Belfield, one of the first NHS nurses who was working in hospital care in 1948; Freya Lewis, a survivor of the Manchester bomb attack who praised the teams at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital; and Martin Griffiths, a trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, who is leading work to respond to attacks in the capital.

These real examples demonstrate the incredible work taking place in our NHS every day and the passion and compassion NHS staff have for caring for people and their families.

The national celebration is also the perfect opportunity to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff in Coastal West Sussex – our everyday heroes – who are there for us, day in, day out.

Over the coming weeks, Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group is going to be telling the NHS stories of people across the area who are also turning 70 this year.

We have been listening to people across the area about how the NHS has touched their lives and the difference it has made.

People have told us how the NHS has helped them to have a family, looked after their loved ones when they were sick, and helped them to live as happily and healthily as possible.

We will be sharing these stories on the CCG website over the coming weeks to celebrate our residents and share our NHS birthday celebrations.

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