Celebrating NHS 70

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard Happy, Happy, Birthday to our wonderful NHS. 70 years old – what an achievement and where would we all be without it?

I would like to say a huge thank you to all our healthcare professionals who will be working as normal today to deliver the best care they can to patients across the UK – and to everyone who has contributed to the running for the NHS over the past 70 years.

But I would like to pay particular tribute to our GPs and our wider GP teams – both clinical and non-clinical staff - without whose magnificent efforts our NHS would not be what it is today; indeed it might not exist at all.

Today alone, we will see over 1 million people, providing care and compassion to our patients and easing the pressures on the rest of the service, including hospitals.

General practice provides the stable foundations on which the rest of the NHS stands. If general practice thrives, the NHS survives.

We have put together this 'birthday video' as a snapshot of the huge range of the College's work to represent our members and raise standards of care for our patients. I hope you enjoy it – along with the snippets from some famous 'non-GPs' about what general practice means to them.

For the College, today's celebrations are bittersweet as we heard the very sad news that Julian Tudor Hart died on Sunday.

Julian 'invented' the Inverse Care Law on health inequalities in 1971 but his thinking around the nine characteristics of the NHS is arguably more relevant today than ever.

He was a 'giant' of our profession and his contribution to patient care will never be forgotten. 

We are proud to have had such a close association with him and his death makes the NHS celebrations especially poignant.

I hope that in the midst of your hectic working day, you can take time to give yourselves and your teams a huge pat on the back for the work you do, day in, day out, to keep our NHS going  – and to remember a true legend of general practice. 

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, College Chair



Dr Julian Tudor Hart, retired GP and former RCGP Council Member"The whole glory of the NHS was that it transformed what had been healthcare as a commodity to healthcare as a social gift. Doctors have learnt how wonderful it is not to have to worry about whether your patients can afford to be ill and consult them. That's almost universally recognised by doctors as a huge advance."

Dr Julian Tudor Hart (9 March 1927-1 July 2018)
GP and former RCGP Council Member
 who 'discovered' the Inverse Care Law of health inequalities in 1971.


Theresa May, Prime Minister"Family medicine sits at the heart of the National Health Service, and its achievements in developing higher standards of patient care could not have been accomplished without the RCGP and the contributions of healthcare professionals from around the world."

Prime Minister Theresa May in support of the RCGP's 2022 WONCA World Conference bid.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England"There is arguably no more important job in modern Britain than that of the family doctor. 

"Thank you for the work you're doing. You know how appreciated you are by your patients but probably don't often get a big enough thank you from the NHS."

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, speaking to GP Frontline


Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer"I realised that I am at my best when I focus and can go in-depth into something. When I was at Central Middlesex [Hospital] I realised I could never do a GP's job, I respected our wonderful GPs but it would have been too difficult for me."

Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer in England, speaking to GP Frontline.


Dr Sarah Wollaston,MP"I didn't change [from being a GP to being an MP] because I didn't like the job I had, I loved being a GP and I still miss it. General practice is a wonderful career and I think that GPs are working under immense pressure and should be very proud of the job they are doing."

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, speaking to GP Frontline.

Nick Robinson"I have my own reasons to be grateful to the people who make the NHS what it is. Three years ago my GP spotted me across a busy waiting room. He'd noticed that I'd made a series of appointments – none with him as it happens – for what I thought was asthma and a bad cough, and his vigilance led to an early cancer diagnosis."

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme host Nick Robinson on the care he received from his GP, Dr Hai of Islington Central Medical Centre.

Jamie Oliver, TV Chef"I've always been aware that better food education is a doctor's best friend but to be recognised by the Royal College of GPs is very special and it gives me and my team even more of an incentive to carry on the work of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation."

TV Chef Jamie Oliver on being made an RCGP Honorary Fellow.

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