Over these past few months, many of us in the United Kingdom have been feeling particularly grateful for our National Health Service (NHS). The phrase national treasure has perhaps never seemed more appropriate.
Founded in 1948, the NHS is a publicly funded and largely free system providing health care to Britons from cradle to grave. It has touched all of our lives at some point – a cherished part of British life. Many will remember the celebratory tribute paid to the NHS and its incredible staff as a highlight of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Tribute to NHS at London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
This year has shown how the NHS is there for us when we need it most. The pandemic has affected every part of our lives and placed health-care systems around the globe under immense strain. Since the first confirmed cases in the UK in January, NHS staff have been working tirelessly to keep the nation safe.
We, London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides want to say thank you – to every doctor, nurse, carer, paramedic, health-care assistant, manager, cleaner, administrator, and pharmacist. To those on the frontline, and those working behind the scenes. Inspired by their commitment to making a difference in these unprecedented and challenging times, we want to give something back.
NHS Nightingale Hospital, London, 30th March 2020. Photo Credit: © Sludge via Wikimedia Commons.
As lockdown measures gradually ease, we’ve been looking at ways that we, as London guides, can show our gratitude to the NHS, while also offering them an opportunity to enjoy some well-earned fun!
We’ve got some plans in place and are excited to share more news with you as things develop. Watch this space to find out more about Guide London’s efforts to say thank you to our NHS.
A digital collage created by portrait artist Nathan Wyburn of 200 NHS workers, created as a ‘thank you’ to the key workers during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic. Photo Credit: © Nathan Wyburn via Wikimedia Commons.
In the meantime, here are 5 fun facts to share about Britain’s health service:
• In 1978, the NHS delivered the world’s first baby born as a result of in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
• The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours
• The NHS is the fifth-largest employer in the world, behind McDonald’s, Walmart, the US Department of Defense and China’s People’s Liberation Army
• In March 2017, the NHS employed 106,430 doctors, 285,393 nurses and health visitors, and 132,673 scientific, therapeutic and technical staff
• In 1948, the NHS budget was £437 million; the planned spending in England for 2019/20 is £140.4 billion
Stay tuned for more!
Your new National Health Service Leaflet, May 1948. Photo Credit: © The National Archives via Wikimedia Commons.