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NHS 65

Members of staff at George Eliot Hospital have gone back in time as part of an event to mark the 65th anniversary of the NHS.

The NHS was formed in 1948, the brainchild of then Secretary of State Aneurin Bevan. It was set up to provide a universal, comprehensive service for everyone based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

The occasion was marked with a 1940s themed event at the hospital with staff getting dressed up in clothes from the day and taking part in a vintage tea party where ration books were exchanged for lunch. Entertainment was provided by the Trust’s very own 1940s singers, The Vintage Girls.

Director of Human Resources, Dorothy Hogg said: “Bevan founded the NHS in 1948 based on the principles of providing high-quality health care for all, free at the point of delivery, and I’m extremely proud to be part of such a fantastic organisation that still believes in these principles.

“Today has been about our staff and giving them the opportunity to celebrate the NHS and be proud of the fantastic job they do.”

Frank Keogh, Union Convenor at George Eliot Hospital, added: “Next week we celebrate our NHS reaching 65 years of age. For many of us it is difficult to imagine life before the NHS, when healthcare was unreliable and treatment had to be paid for. It was the first time, anywhere in the world, that healthcare was made available on the basis of citizenship and need rather than the payment of fees or insurance premiums.

“In the same way as the country celebrated our NHS last year at the Olympic opening ceremony we are celebrating 65 years of the NHS and look forward to the next 65.”

Memories of the NHS

Chris Belcher, Head of Organisational Development

Chris Belcher
"The year before the NHS was formed, my parents had to sell their dinner service, which was handed down to them, to pay the GP to deliver my sister. My dad used to joke that if they had hung on a year they wouldn't have had to pay.
"I also remember when we were kids the GP used to see in the study of his house and his wife was his receptionist."

Debra Heard, Senior Sister

Debra Heard




“I can remember a pupil nurse who was asked to give a commode to a patient and promptly asked the ward sister where she put it on the bed.”

Dawn Downes, Deputy Union Convenor

Dawn Downes





"I can remember doctors doing their ward rounds while smoking a pipe."

Jean Whittaker MBE, Charitable Funds Coordinator

Jean Whittaker



“I was actually born on the day the NHS was founded, back in those days you used to get milk in purple tins and orange juice was rationed. My earliest memory of the NHS was my mum taking me to the dentist when I was two.”

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