Celebrating 75 years of the NHS

The National Health Service (NHS) turned 75 years old on Wednesday 5 July and we went all out to celebrate this very special birthday.

Outpatients team dressed in vintage uniforms

To recognise the incredible contribution of staff throughout the organisation, we have released a special video which highlights the varied roles that make up the NHS workforce. You can see the video on the Trust’s social media channels.

Colleagues turned wards, clinics and offices blue as they took part in ‘Wear it Blue’ to raise funds for Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity, whilst patients got to join in the fun too thanks to some fabulous tea parties. Teams got in the spirit with bunting, flags and even some vintage uniforms on display.

Five lucky colleagues headed to Westminster Abbey, along with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, to take part in a very special service hosted by NHS England: Susan Douglas, Deputy Medical Director; Precious Keta, Person Centred Care Practitioner; Mary Dougan, Education and Development Matron; June Cadman, Waste Management and Environmental Services Manager; and Vicky Wilkinson, Infant Feeding Coordinator Lead, were nominated by senior leaders in the Trust as a thank you for their contribution to the organisation. 

Susan Douglas said: “The service at Westminster Abbey was a wonderful testament to the great legacy of the NHS. There were heartfelt testimonies given of great advances in healthcare and lives saved, coupled with an understanding of the challenges that the NHS faces. There was immense gratitude shown for the hard work being done by NHS colleagues around the country. It was an honour to be invited to attend.”

They weren’t the only ones to be invited to the capital. Graphic Designer, John Slater, was shortlisted in the ‘Our NHS at 75’ photo competition, run in partnership with Fujifilm.  

John’s photo was shortlisted in the ‘Our Care’ category and captured a district nurse, Rebecca Elson-Reynolds, delivering care in a patient’s home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortlisted photos are to be displayed in an exhibition at Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden, London and open to public viewing. 
John said: “The NHS75 photo competition was an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the amazing work our staff and volunteers do around the Trust. Rebecca invited me to document her daily round in the community where we visited a number of vulnerable adults. For many, care workers from the Trust are the only face-to-face contact they had [during that time]. It was clear they not only provided medical assistance but emotional support and companionship. Especially to those who may be isolated or lonely. The presence of a visitor helped alleviate feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety, providing a much-needed social connection. 

“I felt it was important the competition reflected how many NHS colleagues cannot be confined to just a title or role. It's much more and I was thrilled that Fujifilm used this image to promote the NHS75 Competition and display it in their Fujifilm House of Photography studio in Covent Garden.”

To commemorate such a momentous year, we also buried a time capsule to be opened in 2098 – 75 years from now. The capsule is a snapshot of life in the NHS in 2023 and includes memorabilia such as photos, uniforms, letters and testimonials, as well as a prediction of what the NHS may look like in its 150th year. 

Deputy Chief Executive, Michael Wright, had the honour of burying the capsule, and Strategic Director of Adults, Housing and Public Health at Rotherham Council, Ian Spicer came along to witness the historic moment.

The National Health Service (NHS) was formed on 5 July 1948 as the first universal healthcare system of its kind - available to all and free at the point of delivery. 
Not only is the NHS a source of immense pride for the people of Britain, it has been at the forefront of ground-breaking healthcare developments over the years. The NHS continues to develop innovative ways to deliver patient care, be it through research, investment in new technologies, or the development of life-saving drugs. 

Chief Executive, Dr Richard Jenkins, said: “It’s fascinating to look back on the history of our Trust and all the achievements and changes over the years.

I’m proud of the progress we have made and the incredibly dedicated colleagues, some of whom can even remember the opening of the hospital.
Looking to the future, it’s important that we continue to work hard for the people of Rotherham and take more steps on our journey towards becoming an ‘outstanding’ Trust.” 

It's not to late to join in the celebrations. That may be fundraising for Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity, taking part in the special Parkrun on 8 July, adding your name to the organ donation register or signing up to give blood. Whatever you do, we hope you will join us in wishing the NHS a very “Happy Birthday!”