British Embassy celebrates 65 years of the National Health Service
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
On 2 July, Sir Simon Fraser, Head of the UK’s Diplomatic Service, opened a reception to celebrate 65 years of the National Health Service.
Sir Simon Fraser, Head of the UK’s Diplomatic Service, opened a reception this evening to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service (NHS). Guests included policymakers and business people from across the Chinese and international health sectors.
British Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood hosted the event where guests celebrated not only the UK’s proud history of healthcare for all, but also the partnership that the UK and China are building in this area.
The NHS was founded on 5 July 1948 when then Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan opened Park Hospital in Manchester. The new service provided care for all who needed it, free at the point of use and financed through general taxation. This was a major landmark, as prior to this healthcare had to be paid for, and there was little support for those who fell ill. Today the NHS is one of the world’s most cost effective systems. As a percentage of GDP, the UK spends less on healthcare than most other European countries and roughly half that of the USA whilst providing free, comprehensive healthcare to the entire population.
Sir Simon Fraser said:
Over the last 65 years the NHS has gained a huge amount of expertise and experience. A tremendous amount has changed in medicine since 1948 but the NHS has remained as important and relevant as ever. Underpinning its work are excellent training and research institutions and organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which independently assesses new medicines for their clinical and cost-effectiveness. The UK also has a strong commercial sector used to providing good value facilities, products and services for the public sector.
Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to China, added:
The UK is already working closely with China on health and we are keen to collaborate even further in the future. I believe that the UK’s strengths in healthcare make it a natural partner for China as it goes through its ambitious reform process. But the flow of expertise is not one way. China and the UK face many shared challenges in terms of the ageing of our populations, the rise of non-communicable diseases and the threat of global pandemics and antibiotic resistance. Working together is the best – and often the only - way to find solutions to these challenges.
The UK is home to four of the world’s top six universities for clinical, preclinical and health subjects and to the Royal Colleges which provide specialised training to health professionals. The Royal College of General Practioners (GPs) currently helping the health bureau in Zhejiang province and the Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau in developing training programs in primary care. British healthcare companies are also working in China: BT is using its experience of providing UK medical records to work with Ningxia Health Bureau on its hospital e-health services, whilst Arup is working on a 1500 bed hospital in Kaifeng, Henan Province. Healthcare UK, a new collaboration between the Department of Health, NHS England and UK Trade and Investment, is helping international customers access the UK’s healthcare expertise from the commercial sector, academia and the NHS.
About Healthcare UK
Healthcare UK is collaboration between the Department of Health, NHS England and UK Trade and Investment will provide a single gateway to the UK’s healthcare expertise and capabilities, spanning our commercial sector, academia and the NHS. Healthcare UK is in place to help international customers access the UK’s healthcare expertise, bringing together consortia of organisations to deliver effective and comprehensive solutions. Healthcare UK will draw on an in-depth knowledge of the UK’s health sector and utilise UKTI’s network of professional advisers in nearly 100 countries, including China