Creaking a little, but at 70 the NHS is still strong

Six years ago, during what turned out to be a glorious summer, the London Olympics opened with what some of the billions of viewers around the world saw as a rather baffling tribute to the NHS.

Thursday, 5th April 2018, 7:00 am

Skipping nurses and pyjama-clad children leaped across flying beds in a dazzling display at the Olympic Stadium in East London.

But for those of us who use the NHS, rely on it, it was a goose-bump inducing moment.

And film director Danny Boyle’s decision to put it at the centre of a spectacle that was beamed around the world made it clear that the tax-payer funded NHS is a core British value.

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As we get closer to the institution’s 70th anniversary of course it will come under scrutiny. It has changed dramatically since those early post-war days, some say for the worse.

But it remains fundamentally the same – free healthcare for all at the point of delivery.

The principle it was founded on by Nye Bevan seven decades ago remains.

Our reporters have been out asking the public what they think of the NHS – and it’s an overwhelmingly positive picture.

As Melloney Poole, the chairman of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust puts it, it is easy to forget what life was like before it existed.

Yes, we moan about difficulties getting a GP appointment, and perhaps having to wait in A&E to see a doctor. But can you imagine what it was like to fall ill in the UK 100 years ago?

Like America now – if you do not have health insurance – it was a stark choice between paying to see a doctor or paying your rent.

Money is tight, staff are under constant, intense pressure, but they are unfailing kind and instinctively caring.

The NHS is the envy of the world and should be celebrated.