Many happy returns to the NHS!

By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah


Happy birthday to the NHS which is 73 years old this week!

The NHS has marked many milestones since it was launched on July 5, 1948 to ensure that everyone has access to free healthcare no matter how rich or poor they are, how old or young.

Teenager Sylvia Beckingham was the first patient to be treated by the NHS when she was admitted to a Manchester Hospital with a liver condition. Since then we’ve witnessed the first heart transplant in the UK in in 1968, the world’s first IVF baby in 1979, the introduction of MRI scans in the 80s – and much, much more.

But it’s no understatement to say that the NHS has just experienced a year like no other!

The coronavirus pandemic has been hugely challenging for individuals, families, businesses, organisations and the country as a whole – and the NHS has been no exception to this.

It has also been a year of hope; we’ve cared for seriously ill Covid patients and other patients while also rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history.

In Bolton alone, nearly 190,000 people living in the borough have had their first dose of the Covid vaccine and nearly 140,000 have had their second jab.

These tremendous achievements are thanks to the hard work of staff, GPs our partners, volunteers, community organisations and countless others. I want to thank each and every one of you.

I also want to thank patients for their patience and understanding during this time, and for helping to protect the NHS by following Covid guidance and taking up their vaccination when offered.

There are still massive challenges ahead for the NHS as we start to recover from the pandemic, restore services, reduce waiting lists and implement organisational changes.

But I am immensely proud to work for the NHS. It is envied worldwide, and was even celebrated during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics!

I know we can rise to this challenge.




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