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There has been much in the news recently regarding legacy; The Olympic legacy, Sir David Frost’s legacy and what longer term benefits or learning we as a nation are left with as a consequence of the contribution made.
The use of the word legacy got me thinking about the NHS legacy and the principles and values that guide the NHS.
A little bit of history: The NHS was created out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth and when launched in 1948 was based on three core principles: that it meet the needs of everyone; that it be free at the point of delivery, and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.
These three principles remain constant, despite the evolution of the service since its inception some 60 years ago.
The current challenging and ongoing pressures within the NHS create hourly, daily and weekly trials for the managers I meet.
These operational, financial and cultural challenges have been played out very publicly and in some cases, have reflected poorly, however the managers I meet are working harder than ever before to deliver the founding principles, which is what brought them to this altruistic place of work in the first instance & in the main, what keeps them pushing forward.
I wonder, given this demanding backdrop, if they have had, or ever thought of taking the opportunity to reflect on their legacy – what we do today which makes a difference in the future - in order to forge our own individual legacy.
There is a step-change coming - it is becoming clear that the way patients and staff are engaged and listened to is also changing and evolving – a bit like the NHS itself.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact it is a constant in all of our lives - ever present from the moment we are born, taking care of us and our family members, and so, to the people who dedicate their lives to this, I would say that is a pretty robust legacy and one which we should all be proud of - in fact and to put it simply - the NHS, you rock!
Sarah Lovell, Consultant