The NHS was created out of the idea that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. When it was launched by the then minister of health, Aneurin Bevan, on this day in 1948, it was based on three core principles: that it meet the needs of everyone, that it be free at the point of delivery and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
These three principles have guided the development of the NHS for the past 70 years and remain at its core.
Those are not the words of the YEP but the words on the NHS website which set out what the service was, and still is today.
It was am ambitious plan but for the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella organisation to provide services that were free for all at the point of delivery.
The Yorkshire Evening Post’s We love our NHS campaign, which comes to a close today, has highlighted how those services are still making a massive impact on people’s lives today.
It is almost inconceivable that families would have to chose whether or not to call the doctor because of what it cost. But before the NHS was created this was the reality. Doctors, treatments and medicines had to be paid for and many simply could not afford it.
But it still has to be paid for - and if we want our NHS to be viable for another 70 years we cannot expect it to put right the result of our own bad habits, excesses and lack of personal care and responsibility.
Medical and technological advances mean we are living longer and mean that the health service can diagnose and treat conditions which in the past would have killed us.
Recovery rates are better for so many procedures. This means potentially a bigger burden on the NHS.
But each and every one of us can help reduce that burden, by looking after ourselves. Just because we have a free NHS does not mean we can afford to take it for granted and expect the NHS to patch us up and make us better if we don’t help ourselves.
We need to watch our weight, look after our hearts, exercise, eat well, not drink too much and not waste vital GP time with minor ailments we could cure ourselves with time, rest and care.
The future of the NHS is still in our own hands.