Around the country, celebrations are underway as the NHS nears its 70th Birthday on 5 July. To mark the occasion, Devon Partnership NHS Trust has delved into the archives to re-visit some of the key milestones in learning disability and mental health over the years. From attitudes and stereotypes to key therapies and treatments, a lot has changed during the past 70 years. This history has been captured in the form of an online timeline, featuring archive photos, interviews with past and present staff and facts about mental health and learning disability care both in Devon and nationally. View the timeline here
The birthday is a time of reflection on the past, as well as looking to the future. We have worked with staff and carers to capture their thoughts on the question “What does the NHS mean to you?” In a series of films, staff and carers described it as “an extraordinary coming together of values to do with kindness, compassion and care” and said that it “means the world” to them.
Melanie Walker, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Last week, I sat with my Mum in hospital whilst she waited for some test results and she recounted a memory of her parents putting money in a jar every week in case they needed the doctor.
“The NHS was founded with the principle of free care for all from the cradle to the grave – and this remains as important and vital now as it was back in 1948.”
Melanie finished by saying: “In the midst of the celebrations, take a moment of your own to reflect on how privileged we are to work for the NHS which, aged 70, is still doing great things, still breaking new ground, still changing people’s lives and still an organisation of which we can all be proud. Long may it continue.
“Working for the NHS instils a true sense of pride and shared endeavour that I rarely see in other organisations. When I meet people – whether at work or socially – I am proud of our organisation, proud of the way we support people and, most of all, proud to be part of the NHS.”
Looking to the future, the timeline also draws upon the exciting milestones that we still have to look forward to – such as the opening of Devon’s first Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in 2019, a new purpose-built Mother and Baby Unit to be opened in the same year and our continued involvement in research and clinical trials to develop future advancements in mental health and learning disability care over the years to come.