An elderly lady laughing with a nurse

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first white paper on the establishment of the NHS.

Delivered in the House of Commons, the detailed document was submitted to the government and outlined proposed future changes to healthcare.

Seventy-five years on, we take a look at the original white paper and discuss our predictions for the transformation of the NHS over the next 75 years.  

The white paper. a National Health Service, outlined plans to establish a comprehensive health service for the whole country.

Driven by the belief that healthcare should be made available to all through a publicly organised service, the white paper detailed the form and organisational structure of the NHS.

The paper discussed access to services and highlighted that, whilst progress had been made, further improvements were needed to ensure patients had access to the health services they required, and that wealth should not be a factor which limited this.  

This original white paper also emphasised that the creation of the National Health Service was not intended to replace existing healthcare but to enrich and add to already established services, incorporating them into larger organisations.

Patient choice and empowerment was also emphasised within the document, a subject which continues to drive action within the NHS today. 

Matt Hancock’s perspective

Commenting on the 75th anniversary and the National Health Service, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care commented on the deep relationship that patients have with the NHS, commenting:

'People’s relationship with the NHS is not transactional: it is deeply emotional. The NHS is there for us at some of the most important moments of our lives – from the joy of the birth of children to the pain and death of a loved one.'

Matt Hancock added that innovation drives success within the NHS, explaining 'The NHS has been at its best when it has adopted new innovations. And so it must do today.'

The health secretary also discussed the importance of personalising healthcare, the role of digital technologies, patient empowerment, choice and the 'responsibility we all have towards our own health.'

The future of the NHS: Our predictions

With the 75th anniversary of the original white paper in mind, the NHS over the next 75 years is set to undergo significant transformation. 

SCW’s MD Michael van Hemert comments:

'We have all seen the NHS come a long way, overcome change and develop with the times and its ability to keep on delivering great outcomes is no doubt credit to the enthusiasm, determination and collaboration of its people. 

The launch of the NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambitious path towards an integrated NHS that is sustainable, efficient and effective, whilst placing prevention and self-care at the core. Collaboration will be key, and we look forward to working with those who commission and deliver care across systems, harnessing technology to deliver much more integrated and joined-up care.'

Andy Kinnear, SCW’s director of digital transformation, discusses the key health-tech trends affecting the NHS in 2019 and beyond in our recent post. 

Mapping out his predictions for 2019, Andy predicted three key health-tech trends: 

  • Consumerisation - facilitated by the launch of the NHS app, NHS apps library expansion and 'explosion' of personal health record platforms. 
  • Digital leadership shift – an emphasis on placing digital systems within the operational model at board level. 
  • Rhetoric to action – through the growth of key organisational bodies such as The Federation for Informatics Professionals (FEDIP), Faculty of Clinical Informatics and the NHS Digital Academy and influencers ready to instigate change. 


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