Dr David Crichton’s blog: Celebrating NHS on its 70th birthday

This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 12 February, 2018

The NHS is 70 years old this year. It was born on 5 July, 1948 and since then has grown into one of the nation’s best loved institutions.

It has delivered a great number of medical advances and improvements to public health, helping us all to live longer lives. It’s thanks to the NHS that we have all but eradicated diseases such as polio and diphtheria, and pioneered new treatments like the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplants.

There will be many celebratory events taking place this year, including one that has captured my imagination – the 1,000 mile challenge.

We’ve all been urged to give the NHS a 1,000 mile birthday present to help us get a bit more active – clocking up those miles in a variety of ways, from walking to cycling. There’s an #NHS1000miles facebook group you can join to log your progress.

I’m currently in training to cycle just short of 1,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in just nine days with the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, from 8-16 September. I’m undertaking it for Cancer Research UK, a charity and cause close to my heart as a local GP, I’ve pledged to raise at least £2,200 as my contribution.

Think about how you could get involved and join in the celebrations here in Doncaster. Were you an NHS baby – born on 5 July, 1948? Please get in touch and let me know if you were.

Nationally, the NHS is supporting two big celebratory projects. NHS at 70 is a Heritage Lottery funded project, led by the University of Manchester to preserve the NHS’s unique heritage.

Organisers are collecting stories and memorabilia. Can you remember the beginnings of the NHS? Did you come from overseas to work in the NHS? Have you been a porter, a radiographer, a surgeon, a cleaner or held any other post in the NHS? Do you have a long-term medical condition treated on the NHS? Whatever your story, NHS at 70 are keen to hear it.

Email nhs70@manchester.ac.uk or call 0161 275 0560 to get involved. The legacy of these stories will be a digital archive for future generations to access.

The NHS has been the subject of several major political and policy histories. But the cultural history of this key part of British life remains largely the same.

Thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust, a team from the University of Warwick is producing the first cultural history of the NHS. Go to www.peopleshistory.org to find out more and share your personal stories and memories of the NHS.

We can all play a role in supporting the NHS in this special birthday year. This could be by volunteering, raising money for local NHS charities, or by taking steps to look after our own health and using services wisely.