NHS 70

On July 5 2018, the NHS was 70. This represents a magnificent seven decades of providing lifelong health and care in Doncaster.

Cutting the NHS70 Birthday cake at the Doncaster NHS70 celebration (Picture: RDaSH)


In Doncaster we celebrated this Birthday with a special event on Sunday 8 July, 2018. A short report, including photographs from the event, is available to download here.

Joining in with Flourish Enterprise’s family-friendly ‘Summer Fayre’ in Woodfield Park in Balby, we brought along two large marquees and filled them with examples of the wonderful support we receive from a wide range of partners across our diverse communities, to showcase how they support our health and care in Doncaster.

The weather was very hot indeed and we were delighted to receive sponsorship from Eden Springs, which meant we could hand out free water all day long to everyone at the event and help keep people cool in the heatwave.


The event included 2 large marquees and over 30 stalls, including UNISON, local charities, the three health trusts, Healthwatch Doncaster, Young Muslimahs, St John’s Ambulance and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Doncaster College, Weldricks Pharmacy and ASDA. Our aim was to highlight and showcase the diversity within the health and care sector in Doncaster and to offer fun, free and interactive ways to engage with the local community.

K.D.Davis & Sons (The Greengrocers) donated 500 pieces of fruit, which were combined with yoghurt, fruit, ice and soya milk from ASDA to make free smoothies on the council’s ‘Smoothie Bike’, which had to be pedalled to generate power for a blender at the front of the bike.


Our colleagues from Healthwatch Doncaster brought a giant-size game of ‘Operation’ which was very popular indeed and was one of many games available for children and families to enjoy during our special event.

This was a joint event with the three health trusts and our partners in health and care across Doncaster, from all sectors.

The NHS is one of the largest employers in the area and we have hundreds of different jobs and career opportunities. There are over 350 different careers in the NHS and we had lots of information about the different roles available. We took the opportunity to highlight the diversity within our local health and care workforce, asking people to tell us where they were born and where they work.

We also gave out details of current volunteering positions available across Doncaster as our aim is to ‘grow our own’ health and care professionals for the future.

We had ambulances to explore, provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Tracy, our local ice-cream lady brought her vintage ice-cream van to the event.


We had over 30 stalls and interactive displays and demonstrations,  including free bike safety checks and lots of family-friendly activities including:

  • smoothie-bike
  • face painting
  • Giant ‘operation’ and ‘wrecking ball’ games
  • Paint your own NHS hat
  • Make the best hospital bed ‘corner’ (timed competition)
  • Weldricks Pharmacy stall: artefacts and free samples
  • music
  • 5 a-side football competition
  • refreshments

The winning football team from Doncaster’s Seventh Day Adventist Church with Rosie Winterton MP and the Doncaster NHS70 Trophy  (Picture: RDaSH)


The Launch of the NHS – Historic Re-enactment in Edlington

On the morning of Sunday 8 July at 9am, we will be re-creating the scene which took place in Edlington 70 years ago when the NHS was created:

On 5 July, 1948 the band from Edlington Colliery marched to the village doctor’s surgery and began to play. The doctor hung out a Union Jack and handed drinks to the assembled bandsmen and women and onlookers. The NHS had arrived.

This is a well documented account of what happened at Edlington on the day the NHS was born. Our aim on Sunday 8 July, 2018 is to re-enact that event – with a little bit of licence – 70 years on.

The colliery and its band have long gone but there are still strong mining links in the village and the colliery’s NUM banner hangs in the Martinwells Centre – the modern day equivalent of the 1948 doctor’s surgery.

Assembling at 9am at the Hilltop Centre, Edlington, we marched down to the Martinwells Centre, accompanied by the Sheffield Pipe Band, with the colliery banner.

There were rolling road closures as the march processed from the Hilltop Centre to the Martinwells Centre, where we were met by local GPs and health care professionals, civic dignitaries and pupils from Sir Thomas Wharton College, who performed readings and a short play about the launch of the NHS 70 years ago. As happened in 1948, we were invited inside the Martinwell’s Centre for refreshments, before moving on to the Summer Fayre at Woodfield Park.

Members of the public and local community groups joined us on this special, commemorative march, celebrating the 70th Birthday of the NHS in Doncaster. Further details are available in this poster here

The City of Sheffield Pipe Band

Update on the event here: Edlington NHS 70 and the full itinerary is here:


In this next section we’ll feature interesting information relating to the national celebrations that are taking place in 2018.

NHS history

On 5 July 1948, the NHS was launched by the then Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan, at Park Hospital in Manchester (known today as Trafford General Hospital).

For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella to provide services for free at the point of delivery.

The last 70 years

Over the last 70 years, the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation and become the envy of the world.

The NHS has delivered huge medical advances and improvements to public health, meaning we can all expect to live longer lives.

It is 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 transplant.

In more recent times, we have seen innovations like mechanical thrombectomy to improve stroke survival, bionic eyes to restore sight, and surgical breakthroughs such as hand transplants.

The NHS Choices website includes an overview of the milestones of the NHS in England from its launch in 1948 to the present day.

In addition, the Nuffield Trust has produced an interactive timeline which charts the evolution of the NHS from its inception in the post-war years through to today.


As well as celebrating the NHS’s 70th birthday, 2018 also marks the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks, London. Many of the passengers took up roles in the NHS, which launched two weeks later.

Watch this short video which shows some of the highlights of the NHS over the last 70 years