This edition of Nursing Times is dedicated to the National Health Service and you, its nurses and midwives.
The health service is one of those rare things that is so well-known that it is universally understood by its abbreviation. Ask anyone and they know what the NHS is. It is part of the fabric of the UK and relied on by the 67 million people that live on our islands.
“Nursing Times is celebrating the nursing and midwifery staff who work in it now and all those who have contributed to it since it began”
To someone like me, born in the 1970s, it feels like it’s always been here. But, of course, that is not the case. Before it began on 5 July 1948, people would have experienced a very different healthcare system based on ability to pay. That is why it is so important to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS this month.
Nursing Times is celebrating the nursing and midwifery staff who work in it now and all those who have contributed to it since it began. In this special issue, we look back over the last 75 years to highlight the role of nurses and midwives in the journey of the NHS so far, while looking ahead, asking what is needed to ensure the NHS has a secure future. Nurse leaders have also written about their experiences and what the NHS means to them.
At the core of our coverage is a list of 75 people who have either had a transformative impact on practice and the profession or are viewed as rising stars. We can never fully pay tribute to all who have made an impact on the NHS and continue to do so every day in every setting and specialty. But I hope that our list can go some way to representing the great work and contribution of the nursing and midwifery professions in our NHS.
As its largest clinical workforce, you have been central to the health service since its creation. You have played a key role in developing what it does, contributing to its many achievements and cementing the place it rightly holds in the nation’s affections.
In many ways, nurses and midwives are the face of the NHS, having almost all trained or worked in it at some point. You are the professions the public is most likely to encounter and who they often view as representing the health service.
In short, Nursing Times is looking at the past, present and future of nursing in the NHS – shining a light on the great work that you have already done and what you can be inspired and supported to achieve next. Here’s to the next 25 years!