Providing care based on need is NHS’s ‘greatest achievement in 70 years’

According to voters in a BMJ poll, ‘providing care based on need and free at the point of delivery’ is the NHS’s greatest achievement in its 70 years

Over 5,500 people participated in a BMJ vote, where 12 contenders were shortlisted as the NHS’s best achievements since July 1948.

‘Providing care based on need and free at the point of delivery’ received 23% of the votes, while ‘limiting commercial influence on patient care’ got 18%, followed by ‘general practice as the foundation for patient care’ with 10%.

The UK editor of the BMJ, Tom Moberly, has stated that the NHS was not universally welcomed on its launch. It was Aneurin Bevan who pushed for the NHS to be funded using general taxation, believing that health was a “basic human right”.

The results of the poll suggest that his legacy lives on in popular opinion.

The 10% vote for ‘general practice as the foundation for patient care’ is a win for GPs; Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs states believes the GP-patient relationship is unique in healthcare.

She said:

“It is one of the reasons why we are so effectively able to deliver care to over a million patients every day in the UK.”

Dr Fiona Godlee, The BMJ’s editor in chief, added:

“It is deeply heartening to see a founding and fundamental principle of the NHS topping a list of achievements that makes us most proud – it is a truly deserving winner.

“I’m delighted that The BMJ has helped to remind everyone of the enormous contribution the NHS has made to our lives. We should celebrate this 70th anniversary with pride as we look ahead and consider the future prospects for our national health service.”

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