Heanor pensioner wishes NHS happy birthday

As the NHS celebrates its 65th birthday on Friday (July 5), a Heanor widow has thanked it for saving her life.

Seventy-year-old Anne Harrison was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January last year and underwent surgery six months later in the Royal Derby Hospital. Following a course of chemotherapy, Mrs Harrison was discharged last month.

Now, she has wished the NHS many happy returns: “The NHS is a free medical service of which we should all be very proud. It has brickbats thrown at it from time to time but is still the envy of the world.

“I have a friend who visited the United States and was given a bill for $3,000 after she was treated following an accident, even though she has medical insurance.”

Mrs Harrison, who was widowed 10 years ago, has two grown-up children and six grandchildren.

Her 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.”


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.

NHS History

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

Email: charles.malkin@derwentsharedservices.nhs.uk


Published: 28/04/2014