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Happy birthday NHS



Thursday was the NHS’s 70th birthday.

I was born a few months beforehand, a time when my father was still in the army and we couldn’t afford a doctor, so my mother, in labour,  had to bang on the wall to fetch our neighbour. But the following 5 July Aneurin Bevan brought nurses, doctors, pharmacists, opticians and dentists all together under one organisation. Medicine was now free for all at the point of delivery.

But it was clear from the start that money would run out, so in 1952 prescription charges of 1s (5p) were introduced and a flat fee of £1 for standard dental work.

However, since then decades of immigration have increased the population, people now live longer and modern expensive drugs mean that Bevan’s original concept simply can’t cope. If we’d stayed in the EU, at some point our beloved NHS would probably have morphed into a hybrid EU health system.

So, what to do? No amount of funding will ever be enough, especially as our population continues to rise. We may have to follow the French route of 70/30 split - where everybody bar the old/infirm has to pay something. That’s the only way to keep the system going. Happy birthday NHS!

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