As the NHS celebrates its 65th birthday on Friday (July 5), an Ashbourne pensioner has saluted the medics who saved his life 25 years ago.
Seventy three-year-old John Dick was just 48 when he was diagnosed with angina and prescribed the medication that had enabled him to live an active life ever since.
Reflecting on the extra years of life he had been given, he said: “I can’t praise the NHS enough. The system’s always there when you need it, and our doctors are brilliant. They’re a caring group of people who always want to listen.
“The NHS is an open and accessible service which patients are encouraged to have a real input in shaping.”
Mr Dick also paid tribute to the medics who provided aftercare in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit and to the organisers of the Healthy Hearts exercise groups he had joined at Ashbourne Leisure Centre.
As a member of the Patient Participation Group at Brailsford Medical Practice, Mr Dick is well placed to comment on the way in which the NHS involves people in decision making.
A community-minded citizen, he is also chair of Ashbourne and District 50 Plus Forum supported by Derbyshire County Council to give older people a big say on how public services are provided.
Mr Dick’s ringing endorsement of the NHS coincides with the publication of a new survey showing that GPs in Southern Derbyshire and Derby are giving first class patient care that outstrips national averages in most categories.
The findings emerged from a GP Patient Survey carried out by Ipsos MORI to measure satisfaction with local NHS services between last July and March this year.
Researchers surveyed a representative sample of more than 9,200 patients in the Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.
Among the many positive results was that 92 per cent of patients said they had confidence and trust in their GP, the same as the national average, while 89 per cent considered their surgery receptionists helpful, which was one per cent above average.
Less pleasing was that only 61 per cent of patients said they were able to see their preferred GP most of the time, which was two per cent below the national average.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of Southern Derbyshire CCG, the organisation responsible for the health care of patients in the area, said:
“These results are first rate for the most part. It’s great to see that nearly everyone trusts their doctor and that our surgery receptionists are helpful.
“Back in 1948, the then chief nursing officer, Dame Elizabeth Cockayne, said that the NHS should be doing things with patients and not just for them. In that way, people would take more responsibility for their health. Therefore, it’s good to see that this latest survey found that more than three quarters of patients felt involved in decision making about their care.
“Great credit goes to our GP practices for giving superb care and beating national performance in most categories but there’ll be no letting up as we continue to work with patients to make the NHS the best it can be.
“Patients can rest assured that we’ll be looking carefully at these findings to see where there’s room for improvement.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Mr Dick is happy to be photographed, subject to availability.
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is one of four clinical commissioning groups in the county responsible for the healthcare of people in Derbyshire.
On 5 July 1948, the NHS took control of 480,000 hospital beds in England and Wales. An estimated 125,000 nurses and 5,000 consultants were available to care for hospital patients.
The NHS Act, brought before Parliament in 1946, was created as part of a social welfare policy under Clement Atlee’s Labour government which aimed to provide universal and free benefits to all those in need.
The service was based on recommendations in the 1942 Beveridge report which called for a state welfare system.
The principle of the NHS was to provide a comprehensive service funded by taxation, available to all and free at the time of need.
With continued food rationing, a housing shortage, spiralling tuberculosis death rates and on the back of an exceptionally severe winter, the inception of a welfare state could not have come at a better time for post-war Britain.
In its first year, the NHS cost £248m to run, almost £140m more than had been originally estimated.
Charles Malkin, Communications Officer
Tel: 01246 514971/07450 014496