NHS marks its 75th anniversary with a commitment to further improvements

Health / Wed 5th Jul 2023 at 03:14pm

THIS WEEK (Wednesday 5 July) marks the 75th birthday of the National Health Service, and three quarters of a century of essential health services being provided free for all those who need them.

In 1948, infectious diseases including tuberculosis and polio were the biggest killers, particularly in childhood. The average life expectancy was just 66 for men and 70 for women. Boys born in 2020 are now expected to live for 80 years and girls just over 83. The risk of children dying before their 1st birthday is nearly 90% lower than it was 75 years ago. Although the health challenges facing the nation have changed, and vaccinations and public health measures have practically eradicated some diseases and health risks, there is a huge demand for NHS services for our changing needs.

Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) is the local NHS organisation which is responsible for planning and overseeing how NHS money is spent, and making sure that health services work well and are of high quality. Created by government legislation a year ago, the organisation’s staff support improvement work by GP practices, hospitals, community trusts, pharmacists, the ambulance service, dentists, optometrists and everyone who provides NHS services to our 1.6 million population.

Here are some examples of work undertaken by ICB staff to help improve patient care across our area this year:

  • We have collaborated with hospital and community health services to create ‘virtual hospitals’, where patients’ health is overseen by expert consultants in their own homes, supported by electronic monitoring and nursing support, where that’s in their best interests.
  • We have provided funding for GP practices to distribute thousands of home blood pressure monitors to patients, to help them manage their health from home
  • We have invested £1.7m in upgrading telephone systems to make it easier for people to contact their GP practices.
  • We have expanded the range of health professionals that patients can see at their local surgery to include physiotherapists, pharmacists, mental health nurses, paramedics and social prescribers.
  • We have worked to reduce the prescribing of addictive pain killers, reducing the risk of harm to patients and saving the NHS £350,000 a year.
  • We have introduced a Shared Care Record across our area, allowing professionals from hospitals, community health services, general practice, hospices, mental health and adult social care services to securely view the information that they each hold on patients’ health and wellbeing, so that care can be better joined up for patients.
  • We are making specialist mental health support available through GP practices, reducing waiting times for mental health services in some areas.
  • We are working to diagnose dementia more quickly, so that people and their families can get earlier help, and plan to increase the number of people using talking therapies to manage their mental ill-health.

Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, said:

“As we look back on the past year, we can take pride in the way our staff have pushed forward changes that will help patients to live longer, healthier lives, while supporting our colleagues working across health and social care to deliver essential services in challenging circumstances.”

“I’d like to thank the public for their continued support for the NHS and its staff this year. Serving our communities is at the heart of everything we do, and it is fitting that we celebrate our own organisation’s first ‘birthday’ alongside the 75th anniversary of the NHS.”

“I also want to pay tribute to our local patient volunteers who give many hours of unpaid support to improve NHS services and the health and wellbeing of people in their local communities every day.”

A range of events are taking place to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards take place on 5 July, with the East and North Hertfordshire ‘Hospital at Home’ service, winner of the East of England regional award, shortlisted for a national prize. In the evening, national and local landmarks will be lit in NHS blue, and people are encouraged to take photos and share them on social media using the hashtags #NHS75 and #LightUpBlue.

On July 8 and 9, NHS England has teamed up with parkrun UK to host ‘parkrun for the NHS’. This is an opportunity for communities across our area and the country to acknowledge the contribution the NHS makes to the health of the nation, and celebrate staff and volunteers, past and present, who have made the service what it is.

Visit the parkrun website to find your local event.

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1 Comment for NHS marks its 75th anniversary with a commitment to further improvements:

David Forman
2023-07-05 23:04:49

Happy 75th birthday to the NHS. I owe my long life to its wonderful staff. Thank you to all the staff who have kept it going through Covid. The stress was terrible and it claimed the lives of 3 staff in PAH. Please keep up the good work and don't let the actions of the government disillusion you, because that's what they want. Don't give up on this wonderful idea implemented by the 1945 Labour government.

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