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The National Health Service
Transcript of The National Health Service
The first UK kidney transplant takes place at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on October 30 1960 and involves an identical set of 49-year-old twins. The procedure is a success, with both donor and recipient living for a further six years before dying of an unrelated illness.
Kidney transplants, which for many are a welcome alternative to a lifetime of regular dialysis, now have a very high success rate, but demand outstrips supply due to an ageing population. This means there is an increased incidence of renal failure, while the number of donor organs available has fallen.
21st Century NHS
The early years 1948-1959
July 5 1948 – The NHS is born
Aneurin Bevan opens Park Hospital in Manchester.
A hugely ambitious plan to bring good healthcare to all.
Hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are brought together under one umbrella organisation to provide services that are free for all at the point of delivery.
1952 – charges of one shilling are introduced for prescriptions
Prescription charges of one shilling (5p) are introduced and a flat rate of £1 for ordinary dental treatment is also brought in on June 1 1952.
Prescription charges are abolished in 1965 and prescriptions remain free until June 1968, when the charges are reintroduced.
What are they now?
1953 – DNA structure revealed
On April 25, James D Watson and Francis Crick, two Cambridge University scientists, describe the structure of a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid in Nature magazine.
DNA is the material that makes up genes, which pass hereditary characteristics from parent to child.
1954 - Smoking & Cancer link established
British scientist Sir Richard Doll begins research into lung cancer after incidences of the disease rise alarmingly.
He studies lung cancer patients in 20 London hospitals and expects to reveal that the cause was fumes from coal fires, car fumes or tarmac.
His findings surprise him and he publishes a study in the British Medical Journal, co-written with Sir Austin Bradford Hill, warning that smokers are far more likely than non-smokers to die of lung cancer.
Doll gives up smoking two-thirds of the way through his study and lives to be 92.
1954 – daily hospital visits for children introduced
Until now, children in hospitals are often allowed to see their parents for an hour on Saturdays and Sundays only and are frequently placed in adult wards, with little attempt to explain to them why they are there or what is going to happen.
Paediatricians Sir James Spence in Newcastle and Alan Moncriff at Great Ormond Street are making considerable steps to change this, demonstrating that such separation is traumatic for children. As a result, daily visiting is introduced gradually.
1958 – polio and diphtheria vaccinations programme launched
One of the primary aims of the NHS is to promote good health, not simply to treat illness. The introduction of the polio and diphtheria vaccine is a key part of NHS plans. Before this programme, cases of polio could climb as high as 8,000 in epidemic years, with cases of diphtheria as high as 70,000, leading to 5,000 deaths.
1961 – the contraceptive pill is made widely available
Initially, it is only available to married women, but the law is relaxed in 1967.
Between 1962 and 1969, the number of women taking the pill rises dramatically, from approximately 50,000 to 1 million
1962 – Enoch Powell's Hospital Plan
The medical profession criticises the separation of the NHS into three parts – hospitals, general practice and local health authorities – and calls for unification. The Hospital Plan approves the development of district general hospitals for population areas of about 125,000 and, in doing so, lays out a pattern for the future. The 10-year programme is new territory for the NHS and it soon becomes clear that it has underestimated the cost and time it would take to build new hospitals.
1962 – first full hip replacement is carried out by Professor John Charnely
Charnley begins to devote his energies to developing full hip replacements from 1958 and moves his practice to the Wrightington Hospital, where the first full hip replacement will take place. He asked his patients if they minded giving back the hip post-mortem. Apparently, 99% of them agreed, so his team would regularly collect the replacement hips to check wear and tear, and aid research. He improved his design, with a low-friction hip replacement, and in November 1962, the modified Charnley hip replacement became a practical reality
1967 – The Salmon Report
The Salmon Report is published and sets out recommendations for developing the nursing staff structure and the status of the profession in hospital management. The Cogwheel Report considers the organisation of doctors in hospitals and proposes speciality groupings. It also highlights the efforts being made to reduce the disadvantages of the three-part NHS structure – hospitals, general practice and local health authorities – acknowledging the complexity of the NHS and the importance of change to meet future needs.
1967 – The Abortion Act
1968 – Britain's first heart transplant
1968 – British woman gives birth to sextuplets after fertility treatment
1970s, 1980s & 1990s
1972 – CT scans revolutionise the way doctors examine the body
1975 – the morphine-like chemicals in the brain called endorphins are discovered
1978 – the world’s first baby born as a result of in-vitro fertilisation
1979 – the first successful bone marrow transplant on a child takes place
1980s – MRI scans introduced
1980s – keyhole surgery
1980s – The Black Report
1981 – improved health of babies
1986 – first AIDS health campaign
1987 – heart, lung and liver transplant
1988 – breast screening introduced
1990 – NHS Community Care Act
1991 – first 57 NHS trusts established
1994 – NHS Organ Donor Register is set up
1998 – NHS Direct launched