A woman born on the same day the NHS was created has spoken of her passion for the service.
Along with her thoughts on the free healthcare it offers, we have 70 other people’s views on what it means to them.
It is doing more than ever and is keeping people aliveMelloney Poole
Whether they have been treated by the NHS, work for them or know friends and family who have received care, they all appreciate its importance and the dedicated staff.
Their opinions are part of The News’ coverage counting down to the NHS’ 70th anniversary on July 5.
One person who knows how vital it is is Melloney Poole, chairman of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth.
She was born on July 5, 1948 and has been involved in the NHS since 1993.
Melloney says: ‘I completely and wholly support the NHS both as a user and an employee.
‘Since 1993 I have been able to see the difference it makes to the lives of people and the significant changes that have been made for the better.
‘My mother drove herself to hospital in Sheffield when she went into labour with me. When I was eight and needed to see the GP, she would always say “I am so grateful I can take you to the GP without worrying about the cost of it”.
‘It is easy to forget people couldn’t afford to get healthcare before then.
‘The fact we have had it for 70 years is immensely helpful for the population’s health.’
Melloney first joined the NHS as a non-executive director at an acute hospital in Preston before moving to Surrey about 2002. For two years she served as the chairman of a hospital trust but in 2009 left to join the board of the Sussex Partnership.
She has been at QA Hospital, in Cosham, as a non-executive director since May last year and has been chairman of the trust since November.
Melloney adds: ‘The reason I became a non-executive director was to speak up for people who couldn’t speak up for themselves.
‘For me, it is one of the most important things to be involved in.’
Since being part of the NHS, Melloney has seen a number of changes in technology, the use of data and innovative research.
All this, she says, is enhancing the service.
‘The future of the NHS is great,’ she says.
‘It is doing more than ever and is keeping people alive.
‘Community care is something we need to look at now.
‘Care used to be in the community, then it went into acute hospitals but community care is the future of the NHS.’