5 July 2023 marks 75 years of the National Health Service (NHS). When it was founded in 1948, the NHS was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery. Those principles remain as relevant, and valued, today as they did in the years after the Second World War.

Between 1948 to 1973, the number of doctors doubled, whilst anaesthetics advanced to enable longer and more complex surgery. Large-scale vaccination programmes protected children from whooping cough, measles and tuberculosis. We delivered huge medical advances, including the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant, to pioneering new treatments, such as bionic eyes to restore sight.

Most recently, the NHS had everything thrown at it by the Covid-19 pandemic – including admitting 100,000 patients with Covid-19 in a single month in January 2021 – and because we are the NHS, we adapted, and we delivered.

None of this would be possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of all our people. As we look to the future, embracing innovation is critical in enabling the NHS model to deliver better outcomes for patients.

From the day it launched, the NHS has relied on staff from across the world – from the Windrush Generation of 1948 to today’s workforce, represented by over 200 nationalities.
75 years on, the NHS’s founding principles remain intact. 

Patients and members of the public can celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS by getting involved in the activities below:

People across the country are being asked to join the NHS1000 mile challenge to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS this year.

Those taking part are asked to walk, run, swim or cycle (or a combination) the distance of 1,000 miles in the year. That’s an average of 2.74 miles per day. 

Participants are encouraged to keep a record of their weekly miles and are invited to share their progress on Twitter on Sunday nights at 7:30pm using the hashtag #NHS1000miles. 

As well as being a great way to mark the birthday, physical activity is good for your body and mind. And it’s completely free to take part in NHS1000miles.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

NHS England has teamed up with parkrun UK to host ‘parkrun for the NHS’ on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July 2023. 

‘Parkrun for the NHS’ is an opportunity for parkruns and their local communities to acknowledge the huge contribution that the NHS makes to the health of the nation and celebrate all the staff and volunteers, past and present, who have made the NHS what it is. Thousands of people are expected to run, jog or walk 5km in NHS blue or fancy dress. 

There are hundreds of parkruns taking place up and down the country, check out your local parkrun and how to sign up here. Don’t forget you can also volunteer or just come along to spectate and soak up the atmosphere.

For all the latest information on ‘parkrun for the NHS’ keep an eye on the NHS England website.

Volunteer at your local NHS organisation

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation, sharing their time, compassion and expertise to support the NHS, charities, faith groups and communities. 

Volunteers have been integral to the NHS from day one. Why not join them as we mark 75 years of the NHS?

Give blood

Every day thousands of people’s lives are saved or improved thanks to the generosity of blood donors. But sadly, there are still lots of patients that can’t be treated as there are not enough supplies. You can support the NHS in its 75th year by giving blood – there’s an urgent need for regular donors, so please help if you can.

Giving blood saves lives. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.

For more information about giving blood, visit the blood donation website.

Join the NHS Organ Donor Register

Organ donation is when you decide to give an organ to save or transform the life of someone else.

You could help save or improve up to nine lives in future by being an organ donor, and many more by donating tissue.

If you want to be an organ donor after you die, you can register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. It’s also really important that you talk to your loved ones and make sure they understand and support your organ donation decision.

To find out more, please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

Support NHS charities

Over the last 75 years the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation and become the envy of the world. And helping behind the scenes are more than 230 dedicated NHS charities from across the UK.

Whether supporting research and development, brightening up hospital environments, providing state-of-the-art technologies and equipment or supporting staff, they help the NHS to go above and beyond.

You can support NHS charities in many ways – for example by making a donation or volunteering.

To find out more, visit www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.

Celebrating NHS75 in videos

Hampshire Hospitals’ longest serving and newest employees talk about how society and the NHS has changed:

Dr Zaid Hirmiz explains why he became a GP and the changes he has seen in his time working with patients in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight:

We celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS and reflect on the first year since the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System was legally established:

Retired nurse Iris talks about her experience in the NHS:

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