Jan Sobieraj: Celebrating 69 years of our National Health Service

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This week marks the 69th anniversary of the launch of our National Health Service. 

When the NHS came into force – it was the first time anywhere in the world that completely free healthcare was made available on the basis of citizenship. 

Up until this point, hundreds of thousands of people were just too poor to pay to see a doctor and every year, thousands of people died of infectious diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and polio. Around one in 20 children died before their first birthday.

Against such a background, it is difficult to overstate the impact of the introduction of the NHS. It hasn’t been an easy ride, but having cared for the nation for more than half a century, most consider the NHS to have been an outstanding success. It is the jewel in the crown; an object of admiration and envy around the world.

Advances in modern medicine, often driven by the NHS, have seen health care transformed around the globe. Who could have imagined back in 1948 that we would be able to perform organ transplants, that vaccinations could save so many lives worldwide, that so many children could be conceived through the use of IVF and that we would see such advances in the successful treatment of many diseases?

Just this week we are welcoming the launch of a PET-CT scanner at Lincoln County Hospital – enabling us to better diagnose and manage the treatment for many cancer patients and with continuing technological advances such as robotic led surgery the future looks exciting.

We have also heard that our Lincolnshire Heart Centre is outperforming in all of the national standards and is one of the best performing centres in the country for treating heart attack patients through the use of a non-surgical treatment to unblock arteries. 

It was so wonderful to hear that on Saturday dedicated members of two separate campaign groups, who obviously care about the NHS locally, came out in force and presented staff at Lincoln County Hospital with lots of lovely treats to mark the anniversary of the NHS.

We might not always agree on everything, but we are all united in knowing that it is our hardworking nurses, doctors, therapists, scientists and support staff who are the backbone of our hospitals. They do extraordinary things every day – for our patients, for our organisation and for each other.

On behalf of everyone working at ULHT thank you.

We have many big challenges to overcome and we know it won’t be easy. But I know that if we work with our partners on the STP, develop our own 2021 strategy (our bit of the STP) with our staff, the public and patients, we live and breathe our values, and keep our focus on our patients, ULHT can be stronger and better than ever. 
Thank you again to everyone involved on Saturday and happy birthday to the NHS – we look forward to any even more successful year as we head for our 70th!