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Commissioner’s Blog: Innovation and ideas – Celebrating older people’s contribution to the NHS

in News

This week, there will be celebrations across the country as the NHS reaches a significant milestone – 75 years since it was established in 1948.

Unsurprisingly, as a service we encounter from the day we are born, a service that literally saves lives, a service where the ‘lights are always on’, the NHS has held a special place in people’s hearts since it was created as the first universal health system in the world to be available to all, free at the point of use.

The positive impact the NHS has had on society is clear, supporting so many aspects of our health and wellbeing and helping us to live longer, healthier lives. And for a significant number of people, many of whom are older, the NHS enables them to live independently and do the things that matter to them.

As we celebrate the difference the NHS has made since 1948, and makes every single day, I think it’s important to remember that many people who are now older will have played a part in making the NHS what it is today, whether through providing care and support, or taking forward new ideas and innovations.

And as we consider what the future of the health service looks like, it’s crucial that older people’s voices and ideas are heard and responded to by health boards, that their experiences are used to drive improvements in services.

As part of any discussion and debate about how we can build on the success of the past 75 years and deliver a modern, effective health service that meets our needs and upholds our rights, we need to ensure that people of all ages – including older people – are enabled and empowered to make their voices heard.

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