Seventy Wonderful Years of the NHS
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Collette's Blog

The PBC Foundation is the only UK based organisation that specifically deals with PBC.

Seventy Wonderful Years of the NHS

On this day in 1948 under the premiership of Clement Atlee, the Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan at the Park Hospital in Manchester (today known as Trafford General)  launched the wonderful and fantastic  – NHS.  Hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella to provide services free for all at the point of delivery in the United Kingdom.

I cannot begin to imagine what life would be like without our NHS.   Given this was only three years post war in the UK, think about the thousands of troops, returning from battles overseas, maimed and injured and with no NHS to look after their needs.  Families (if you were lucky enough to have one), had to manage as best as possible.  How would life be without  Accident and Emergency services, midwifes, inoculations etc., and not to forget the paramedics and ambulance drivers– it just doesn’t bear thinking about!!

As far as my own life is concerned, it is unthinkable that there would/could be no NHS, I wouldn’t be here I am sure!  Shiver at the thought!  Having suffered unexplained symptoms for many years, I was finally diagnosed with PBC in 1994 and at the time, extremely ill with pneumonia and my liver struggling hugely with heavy duty  medications for that and previous back surgeries.  Enough said!! Thank you to all those wonderful nurses, doctors, radiologists, ward maids (and gentleman) tea trolley people, admin staff, researchers etc. who are responsible for not only my being here today, but  also for me having such a good quality of life. 

Something sudden, autoimmune and rare (again)  cropped up recently and a new team of specialists (rheumatologists) quickly spotted the potential risk of me losing my sight.  These experts acted immediately avoiding a terrible tragedy, and have taken me into their care so I am sure that all, eventually,  will be well.  Reassured, grateful, humbled are just some of the many emotions I am feeling at the moment.  I do wish I could express, in a meaningful way how grateful I am for all the expertise I  have and continue to receive from our wonderful NHS.   My family and friends most certainly agree with me. 

Yes, things don’t always go to plan and mistakes are made – as they are in all professions and all walks of life.  Thankfully these are few and far between and we have far more positive reasons to celebrate our NHS than negative ones.  We, as consumers, should perhaps review how we treat the NHS.  It’s heart breaking to see the statistics of nonattendance of appointments and the consequent waste of funds.  Do we really need to see the GP for a cold/flu?  Are we not capable of buying paracetamol ourselves?  Granny certainly did know best some of the time.  Gargling in salt water was a favourite for a sore throat and salt water was and is a wonderful antiseptic for cuts and small wounds. Banana skin rubbed on warts – yes, there are plenty of remedies which can be helpful.  Yes,  I am a granny and I do practice what I preach!!

Think back to those pre and post war days and clearly, our health has improved enormously – thanks to the NHS.  Think too that in its first year 1st year of conception, eight and a half million dental patients were treated on the NHS.  Five million pairs of spectacles were given to those in need.  There are endless figures that run into millions that each and every one of us have benefited from over the last 70 years.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you to everyone within the NHS who bring such wealth into our lives and long may it continue.