Anniversary of NHS - 5 July

Home » News » Anniversary of NHS - 5 July
NHS01
Mary and Florence

The National Health Service came into being on 5 July 1948. During post-war reconstruction, improving the healthcare of the nation was seen as crucial to the nation's recovery. Beveridge, the architect of the NHS, identified "five giants" that had to be slain: want, disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness. The cataclysm of war provided the stimulus for radical reform. It was a momentous achievement and, in spite of early professional resistance to some of the proposals, it was born of a national consensus: everybody wanted the new service to work.

The NHS was based on principles unlike anything that had gone before. It was financed almost entirely from central taxation. That the rich paid more than the poor for comparable benefits was regarded as a crucial part of the scheme. Everyone was eligible for care, even people temporarily resident or visiting the country. People could be referred to any hospital, local or more distant. Care was free at the point of use, although prescription and dental charges were subsequently introduced.

During the current pandemic, there has been immense national and local support for the NHS and its front line workers. The emergence of the Thursday 'Clap for Carers' was a significant experience in the lockdown. Thanksgiving binds communities together, turning 'I' into 'we'. The contribution of carers and key workers who have given of themselves sacrificially needs to be honoured. Sharing stories of people and events during the crisis is likely to form the kernel of any community celebration. Unsung heroes need to be applauded.

Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale

The seven critical-care Covid Hospitals have been named after Florence Nightingale, and a post-Covid rehabilitation facility named after Mary Seacole, both prominent figures in nursing history and role models in the NHS.

Mary Seacole

Was a pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War, who as a woman of mixed race is today celebrated as an inspiration for the many BAME people who sustain our NHS. Born Mary Jane Grant in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805 to a Scottish soldier and Jamaican mother, Mary learned her nursing skills from her mother who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers. She was an inveterate traveller, and before her marriage to Edwin Seacole in 1836 visited other parts of the Caribbean, as well as Central America and Britain. On these trips, she complemented her knowledge of traditional medicine with European medical ideas. In 1854 Mary approached the War Office, asking to be sent as an army nurse to the Crimea. She was refused, but undaunted, funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the 'British Hotel' near Balaclava for sick and convalescent officers. She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded, and became known as 'Mother Seacole'.

Florence Nightingale

Was born in 1820 into a wealthy family. In the face of their opposition, she insisted that she wished to train in nursing. In 1853, she finally achieved her wish and headed her own private nursing institute in London. Her efforts at improving conditions for the wounded during the Crimean War won her great acclaim and she devoted the rest of her life to reforming nursing care. Her school at St Thomas's Hospital became significant in helping to elevate nursing into a profession.

#Click here for Prayer Resources for the Anniversary Celebrations

You may also be interested in

Burnt Mill Methodist Church
History: Thu 09 Jul

Burnt Mill Methodist ChurchBurnt Mill Methodist Church, seating 150, was built in 1887 by the North West Essex Wesleyan Mission (the site was just opposite what is now Harlow Town Station).Burnt Mill was then included in the newly created Bishop's Stortford circuit in 1939. In 1953 it was transferred to the Harlow Mission Circuit. It was closed in 1962 and demolished in 1963: by that...

WAS - Garden
Prayer & Worship: Wed 24 Jun

Oasis of Calm...The Meditation Garden at Watton-at-Stone Methodist Church is proving to be a real 'Oasis of Calm' for the local community to use for reflection and private prayer, particularly during spell of warm summer weather we are all enjoying.Mr John Ellis, the Lay-Pastor at the church has been encouraging use of the garden as a prayer space whilst the church building is closed...

Epping URC - Anniversary
Church News: Sun 21 Jun

Sunday 21 June 2020Wishing all our friends at Epping United Church a very happy Church Anniversary!Epping URC is one of the oldest non-conformist churches in Essex where there have been services on the same site in Lindsey Street since 1625.Sadly, the Covid-19 Pandemic means the celebration can't be in the church building this year, but they'll be celebrating and worshipping...

© 2012 - 2020 Herts and Essex Border Ecumenical Area

Methodist, United Reformed Church and Anglican Churches in Partnership