On July 5th, 1948, the National Health Service was born.
My father was all of 6 years old, only a year younger than Sam is now.
It’s actually quite hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist, it’s always been there in my lifetime. This is what the NHS means to me.
At the end of WWII my grandfathers returned to the wives they’d had to leave behind; it was the first time Bert Allen met his young son Roger... my father.
Roy Potter returned home and a few years later my uncle and mother were born. Over the years the NHS has cared for three generations of women in my family during pregnancy, labour and birth.
They have supported us through cancer twice, autoimmune disease, major surgeries and dementia.
They have saved my mother’s life twice due to pregnancy/birth complications; my life has been saved three times – a DVT at 24, complications during a traumatic delivery at 32 and serious illness at 37).
An observant young paediatrician examining me shortly after my birth identified that both my hips were dislocated as the joints hadn’t formed.
Thanks to that Dr, I was spared a lifetime of surgery, pinning and repining the hip joint with all the disability and pain that would come with it.
Without the NHS, my beautiful niece wouldn’t be here either.
She and her mother would have died during a difficult and prolonged labour which resulted in an emergency C-section.
My future husband would have been unlikely to survive a serious bout of appendicitis at 16.
All of this care has been free at the point of delivery; regardless of the ability of an individual to pay, it is given based on clinical need.
And then in 2011 Sam was born. Without the NHS he would not have made his first birthday.
He would not have the amazing VNS implant which has changed his life in the past year; we simply would not have been able to afford it.
As a child with life-limiting/life-threatening disabilities, getting insurance to cover him would be almost impossible his monthly medication bill is astronomical.
Without our NHS, my family wouldn’t exist.
It is not perfect but I wouldn’t want to be without it for anything.
Happy birthday, NHS. And thank you. For everything.