7 things you may not know about the NHS

Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS!

As the NHS turns 70 years old today, we’ve been thinking about how it has shaped the UK health landscape, our personal experiences with the system, and how things have changed in the past 7 decades. We’ll be blogging about these reflections throughout July, but to kick us off, here’s 7 things you may not know about the Welsh NHS, past and present:

1. Each year across Wales, the NHS receives 3 million outpatient appointments, 1 million attendances at A&E and 750,000 hospital admissions.

2. The first patient treated under the NHS was a 13-year old girl admitted to Park Hospital near Manchester with a potentially fatal liver condition (pictured above). Closer to home, the first baby born under the NHS arrived at one minute past midnight on 5th July 1948, right here in Wales at Glanamman Hospital.

3. Speaking of babies, more than 2.6 million babies have been born in Wales during the lifetime of the NHS. Struggling to picture that number? It’s enough to fill the Principality Stadium 56 times and averages out at 3095 babies per month over the past 70 years!

4. In 2016/2017, the total expenditure for the NHS in Wales was £6.38 billion (£2,050 per head of the population). Cancers and tumours accounted for 7.1% of this budget.

5. Proud Welshman Aneurin Bevan was the Minister of Health at the time the National Health Service Bill was passed in 1946. He spent the next two years trying to make his vision for a fully nationalised, truly public health service a reality. He passed away 12 years after his work came to fruition, following diagnosis with stomach cancer.

6. The NHS directly employs nearly 78,000 people in Wales. That’s more people than the current population of Andorra!

7. Over 670,000 people are invited to participate in cancer screening programmes across Wales every year. Uptake varies according to the programme (2016/2017: 53.4% for bowel cancer, 70.4% breast cancer and 77% for cervical cancer).

It’s hard to distil 7 decades of work into 7 bullet points, but no-one can deny the magnitude of effect the NHS has had on our nation’s healthcare! In part two of this mini-series, we’ll consider the scientific advances that have come about during the lifetime of the NHS, and how this has impacted cancer diagnosis and treatment in the present day. Stay tuned!

(Statistics from Welsh Government and NHS Wales.)