Calling all qualified Medical Professionals, Nurses, Doctors, Consultants & Other Medical Professionals!
Find out about developing your career with the National Health Service: the UK and Europe's largest employer.
The National Health Service (NHS) currently has vacancies for experienced and newly qualified Nurses and Doctors, Paramedics, Radiographers / Sonographers, and many other specialisms. This event will bring you together with NHS Hospitals, Boards and Trusts from across the whole of the United Kingdom giving you the opportunity to apply for vacancies, training positions and to find out about all aspects of living in the UK and working for the NHS.
Join us on Thursday 16th July for a full and interactive programme of interviews, presentations and question and answer sessions with representatives of the NHS and regulatory bodies.
Candidates who apply to the vacancies linked to this event will be scheduled for an online interview on the 16th, 17th July.
Participation is FREE, so why not log on and find out about the exciting and varied career opportunities the NHS can offer you?
With only 10 days to go until our first National Health Service (NHS) focused recruitment event we are happy to say that there are now over 200 positions available to Medical professionals from across the EEA.
So whether you're a Doctor, Nurse, Consultant or you're interested in one of the other careers on offer then please log in on the 17th July to find out more about starting a career with the NHS.
Where can I find job vacancies in the NHS in England and Wales?
I already work in the NHS and need help with developing my career. Where should I go to get this?
You should speak to your line manager and your training department. You can also contact the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line on 08000 150 850.
Will I still be able to train/work for the NHS if I have a criminal record?
It depends on the nature of the offence, and the sort of work you want to do in the NHS - for example, for roles with direct patient contact you will usually legally be required to declare all criminal offences. Any requirements like these will be stated in the job advertisement or when you apply to do a relevant university course.
Do I have to go to university to get a job in the NHS?
No. Around 50% of the NHS workforce has a university or other professional qualification, but there are lots of opportunities for staff without these qualifications, especially in the wider healthcare team.
What sort of careers could I consider in mental health?
There are many careers that you could consider in the NHS. These include occupational therapist, mental health nurse, speech and language therapist, psychiatrist, music therapist, social worker, dramatherapist, psychotherapist, art therapist, healthcare assistant, prison nurse, clinical psychologist, psychological wellbeing practitioner and high intensity therapist.
What careers are there working with children?
Many careers involve working directly with or specialising to work exclusively with children. They include newborn hearing screener,children's nurse, paediatrician, clinical psychologist, speech and language therapist, audiologist, physiotherapist, healthcare assistant, hospital play specialist,nursery nurse, nursery assistant, child psychotherapist, health visitor, school nurse and social worker.
What careers are there to work with patients who have cancer?
A number of careers involve providing direct care or treatment of patients with cancer. These include radiologist, cancer nurse, nurse specialising in palliative care, oncologist, scientist in haematology,healthcare assistant, therapeutic radiographer,biomedical scientist andpalliative care doctor. In addition to the NHS, opportunities exist with organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Am I too old to join the NHS?
There is no upper age limit to join the NHS. Indeed, maturity/life experience can be an asset for many roles. If the career you are considering requires university training, then you should discuss any concerns that you might have about your suitability with the universities directly. You might consider attending some university open days or contacting the university's admissions office before making a formal application.
You can use our coursefinder to get a list of universities approved to run courses for a number of clinical careers.
Does the NHS provide financial support to students going through university courses?
The NHS currently provides financial support to eligible students on approved pre-registration courses in nursing, midwifery, most of the allied health professions, dental hygiene, dental nursing, medicine and dentistry. The type of support varies, depending on the career and the course. For more information, visit the NHS Student Bursaries website.
The Students Awards Services offers a similar scheme in Wales.
How much can I earn in the NHS?
It depends on the type and level of job you are working in. Doctors, dentists and senior managers have their own pay systems, whereas all other NHS staff are paid under the Agenda for Change pay system.
Take a look at the NHS Jobs website to see what current vacancies are available in the NHS.
I’m trying to get work experience in the NHS, but don’t know where to start. Can you help?
If you are still at school or college, your local NHS organisations may offer the opportunity to gain work experience. Our Step into the NHS website also has a smart guide for young people looking for work experience. You will need to register to the website to access this.
Each NHS organisation will have its own policy, so you will have to contact your local NHS organisation(s) or visit their website(s) to find out. For NHS organisations in Wales, visit www.wales.nhs.uk. Voluntary work is another way of gaining an insight into working in the NHS.
Can I do voluntary work?
What does being a registered healthcare professional mean?
Many healthcare professionals are regulated on a statutory basis. This means that to work as one of these professionals, you are legally required to be registered with the relevant regulatory body.
Many other professions have voluntary registration which means that it isn't a legal requirement to be registered, but it is usually in the interests of the individual to do so.
Where can I find the details for my local NHS organisation?
I’ve been having problems applying online for job vacancies in the NHS.
Opportunities for overseas-qualified doctors
What opportunities are there for an overseas-qualified doctor to work in the UK?
Competition for training posts is high, particularly in certain specialties and in certain parts of the country. Training posts in the popular specialties and in popular places are likely to be filled by resident doctors from the UK or European Economic Area (EEA). There may be opportunities in service grades (consultants, specialty doctors) supporting the NHS service delivery.
Doctors and dentists who wish to work in the UK from outside the EEA will need to meet the requirements of the UK Border Agency immigration rules under the points-based system.
All doctors who wish to practise medicine in the UK will need to be both registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) and hold a licence to practise. For more detail, see our information for doctors.
Where do I look for jobs in the NHS?
Once you have confirmed your registration status and are in a position to apply for jobs, you need to visit NHS Jobs, the online recruitment website for the NHS which advertises medical vacancies.
You should be aware that whilst there is some demand for doctors in certain medical specialties, if you are not eligible to practise either as a fully qualified consultant or GP, then competition for junior doctor posts can be very fierce. Prospective recruits should not assume that there is a guarantee of either a training post or job in the NHS.
Will I have to take a health check?
All healthcare professionals recruited into the NHS that work directly with patients have to undergo an occupational health medical check before starting employment. This will include:
Do I need a licence to practise?
Yes – the licence to practise applies to all doctors in the UK whether they are working in the NHS or independent sector, either on a full or part-time, permanent or locum basis. You will need to have a licence to practise before you can apply for your GMC registration regardless of the type of registration you require.
What are the types of GMC registration?
There are three main types of registration - specialist registration, full registration and provisional registration. For more general information, see our information for doctors.
The registration section on the GMC website will help you assess the type of registration you may be eligible to apply for.
Contact details for the GMC are available on their website.
How do I register with the GMC?
The GMC regulates doctors. To be entered on the appropriate medical register you must submit the following documents to the GMC:
These must be original documents with certified translations into English.
Applicants who register with the GMC must also demonstrate competence in the English language by achieving a specific mark in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The GMC can be contacted by emailing email@example.com or calling the contact centre on 0161 923 6602 (inside the UK) or +44 161 923 6602 (outside the UK).
What is the GP Register?
A register of all those eligible to work in general practice (apart from doctors in training such as GP registrars) in the UK health service.
Who needs to be on the GP Register?
Doctors must be on the GP Register to be eligible to work as GPs in the NHS in the UK. This includes locums but excludes doctors in training such as GP registrars. Entry to the GP Register is evidence that a doctor's qualification is acceptable in the UK.
What is the purpose of the GP Register?
It will provide a number of benefits. In particular employers, contracting authorities, patients and the public have access to the national register of doctors who are eligible to work as GPs.
How is this different from the Specialist Register?
The GP Register focuses on doctors who are eligible to work as general practitioners and is separate from the Specialist Register. To be appointed as a consultant in the NHS in the UK, a doctor must be on the Specialist Register.
How do I apply to get on the GP Register?
GPs who have not followed a GMC-approved training programme can apply under Article 11 of The General and Specialist Medical Practice Order for a Certificate confirming Eligibility for General Practice Registration (CEGPR) which will enable them to be entered on the performers' list of their primary care organisation. It will also enable them to be entered on the GP Register established by the GMC.
The GMC website details the evidence required to allow your request for GP registration to be assessed.
If you do not hold full registration and want to join the GP register, you should make your application for full registration when you make your application for GP registration.
Do locums need to be on the GP Register?
Yes, if they work or wish to work as a GP in the NHS.
Am I eigible to work as a consultant in the NHS?
All consultants working in the NHS must be on the Specialist Register (SR) of the General Medical Council (GMC). European doctors have automatic rights to be entered on the SR if you meet the following criteria:
2. You hold a primary medical degree from a member state within the EEA.
3. You hold a specialist qualification/certification from a state within the EEA for a specialty which exists within the UK.
Non-European doctors need to apply to the GMC to have their training and experience assessed under the appropriate criteria. If you are successful, the GMC will send a ‘statement of eligibility for registration’. After this, you are eligible to apply to the GMC for entry on the Specialist Register. For further information visit the GMC website.
What is an approved practice setting (APS)?
Approved practice settings (APS) are organisations which the GMC has approved as suitable environments for new fully registered doctors.
An APS is an organisation that has systems for the effective management of doctors and systems for identifying and acting upon concerns about a doctor’s fitness to practise. They also have systems to support the provision of relevant training or continuing professional development, and systems for providing regulatory assurance.
APSs include environments both within and outside the NHS. More information about this is available on the GMC's website.
What is the purpose of approved practice settings?
The purpose of introducing approved practice settings (APS) is to provide public protection. It requires new and fully registered doctors or those who haven't worked in the UK for more than five years, to work within a supportive environment where quality assured systems aimed at improving standards are in operation. This will help to ensure that in the small minority of cases where problems arise; there is a better prospect of them being detected early.
How do I know if an organisation is an APS?
This information is available from the GMC's website.
Does the APS requirement apply to the independent sector?
Yes, if the doctor's registration requires them to work in an approved practice setting.
Does an international medical graduate (IMG) have to work in an APS?
Yes, by law all doctors granted full registration for the first time and taking up a new job (UK graduates as well as IMGs) or returning to the register after a prolonged absence from UK practice are required to work initially within an approved practice setting.
Do EEA graduates need to work in an APS?
EEA graduates are strongly advised to work in an APS when they first take up employment in the UK under full registration. The GMC also advises EEA doctors restored to the register after prolonged absence from UK practice to work initially in an APS. This will ensure that they work in environments with appropriate supervision and appraisal arrangements or assessments.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Non-EEA applicants applying for registration must satisfy the GMC that they have the necessary competence of English language. Doctors must take the Academic Version of the IELTS test and achieve minimum scores of 7.5 in spelling, listening, reading and writing. Information about the format of the test as well as addresses of UK and overseas IELTS test centres and application forms are available on the IELTS website.
Professional Linguistic and Assessment Board (PLAB)
The PLAB test is the main route by which international medical graduates (IMGs) demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practise medicine in the UK.
All applications for PLAB exams must be made online through the GMC website. If you are unable to apply online you should contact the GMC for an application form on +44 (0)161 923 6602.
Part 1 of the test can be taken in some overseas countries (listed on the GMC website), but part 2 of the test can only be taken in the UK. You must pass part 2 of the test within three years of the date you passed part 1.
What happens if an applicant's PLAB pass has expired?
If your pass in the PLAB test has expired, you will be required to demonstrate capability for practice in one of the following ways:
If an applicant considers there are exceptional reasons why they should not provide objective evidence in one of the forms above, they will be required to submit a written statement explaining why these standards should not be applied to them. They will also be required to provide details of the objective evidence they wish the GMC to consider as demonstrating their capability for practice in the UK. All such applications will be referred for advice from a Registration Panel.
Can IMGs get exemption from PLAB?
IMGs applying for provisional registration must pass the PLAB exam in order to register.
Doctors applying for full registration may demonstrate their medical knowledge and skills in one of the following ways:
Doctors applying for full registration must also submit evidence that they have satisfactorily completed either Foundation Year 1 in the UK or a period of postgraduate clinical experience (internship).
Does an international medical graduate (IMG) have to work in an APS?
Yes. All doctors granted full registration for the first time and taking up a new job (UK graduates as well as IMGs) or returning to the register after a prolonged absence from UK practice are required to work initially within an approved practice setting.
Do IMGs need an offer of employment to apply for registration?
There is no longer a requirement for IMGs to have an offer of employment in order to obtain registration with the GMC.
What type of registration can international medical graduates (IMGs) hold?
IMGs can apply for provisional or full registration depending on the nature and extent of their postgraduate experience. If they have satisfactorily completed either Foundation Year 1 (F1) in the UK or a period of postgraduate clinical experience that provides an acceptable foundation for future practice as a fully registered medical practitioner, they can apply for full registration. If not, they can apply for provisional registration.
IMGs will be required to demonstrate their medical knowledge and skills, knowledge of English, and fitness to practise before they are registered.
Applicants who meet the criteria for full registration are not eligible for provisional registration.
How do IMGs move from provisional registration to full registration?
IMGs applying for full registration who have previously held provisional registration will already, as part of their application for provisional registration, have satisfied the registrar of their knowledge of English and will have an acceptable primary medical qualification. When applying for full registration, they will generally not be required to satisfy these requirements again. They will, however, as with all other applications for full registration, be required to submit fresh evidence of their fitness to practise in the form of a completed character declaration and certificates of good standing, if appropriate. In addition, they will, in the same way as UK/EEA graduates, be required to submit evidence that they have completed Foundation Year 1 to a satisfactory level.
What is the difference between hospital posts with educational approval and posts without educational approval?
Posts must have educational approval from the Local Education Training Board (LETB) to be credited towards the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). Posts without such educational approval cannot automatically be counted as relevant postgraduate medical experience when applying for subsequent educationally-approved posts.
What is a UK observership?
An observership (also referred to as a clinical attachment) is an unpaid placement with a hospital consultant in an NHS trust. These placements give an overseas-qualified doctor the opportunity to observe clinical practice within his/her specialty. These placements should assist overseas-qualified doctors in gaining a better understanding of how the NHS works and how postgraduate medical training is carried out in the NHS.
How do I arrange an observership?
There is no formal mechanism for arranging these placements. Doctors must arrange observer status themselves by writing directly to the NHS trust of their choice. Applications should be addressed to the Specialty Clinical Director or the Postgraduate Clinical Tutor (if it is a teaching hospital). Applications should include a letter explaining why you wish to arrange an attachment and a copy of your curriculum vitae (CV).
Hospital addresses and details of medical personnel can be found in the Medical Directory which is available in the reference section of UK public libraries and should be available for consultation at most British Council offices overseas. Details of NHS trusts can be found on www.nhs.uk.
You will need to apply for a business visitor visa through the UK Border Agency to take up an observership in the UK. There is a specific category in the immigration rules for these posts. A restriction has been introduced on the amount of leave that can be granted specifically to undertake clinical attachments to 6 weeks at a time (or 6 months in total) as they are designed to be filled for short periods only. This is in line with the purpose of these posts, for overseas doctors to familiarise themselves with UK working practices.
Am I eligible to take the UK Royal College examinations?
You will need to contact the relevant UK Royal College which are listed on:
The NHS - a rewarding place to work
There are few careers that are as rewarding as one in the NHS, or that give you the opportunity to work with such a variety of people.
We actively recruit people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. This helps us understand the different needs of the patients and provide the best possible service.
Whichever area you join, you become part of a talented, passionate team of people, committed to providing the best care and treatment to patients. You will also enjoy one of the most competitive and flexible benefits packages offered by any employer in the UK.
Benefits of working in the NHS
Everyone who joins the NHS is guaranteed a salary that matches their ability and responsibilities, and given every opportunity to increase it through training and development.
On top of your basic salary, you will receive at least 27 days' holiday each year, plus a range of other benefits including occupational health and counselling services.
Pay and conditions
The national pay system for the NHS - Agenda for Change (AfC) - is for all directly employed staff except doctors and the most senior managers. The pay system offers real benefits including:
Other benefits of working in the NHS include training, occupational health services, automatic membership of the NHS Pension Scheme (unless you choose to opt out) and study leave for sponsored courses.
Join one of the UK's best pension schemes
The NHS Pension Scheme is still one of the most generous and comprehensive in the UK. Every new employee automatically becomes a member and you will get an excellent package of pension benefits. For more details see the NHS Pensions website.
Moving on in the NHS
The NHS is committed to offering development and learning opportunities for all full-time and part-time staff. No matter where you start within the NHS you'll have access to extra training and be given every opportunity to progress within the organisation. You will receive an annual personal development review and development plan to support your career progression and, as part of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF), within Agenda for Change, you will be encouraged to extend your range of skills and knowledge and take on new responsibilities.
For more information on the Knowledge and Skills Framework go to www.nhsemployers.org/agendaforchange.
The Career Framework has been designed to improve career development and job satisfaction for NHS employees.
It encourages individuals to learn new skills and take on extra responsibilities that enable them to progress within the organisation. Many people take on additional responsibility within their own area, while others retrain and move in to different roles.
The case study of Alan Cecil - describes how Alan has progressed within the allied health professions. You can follow his career path in the white boxes on the diagram below, alongside other potential paths in the different areas of the NHS.
The diagram linked below gives an illustration of a variety of NHS careers and where they may fit on the Career Framework. It is not exhaustive; details on other careers can be found in the relevant booklets and on the NHS careers website.
You can find out more about the Career Framework on the Skills for Health website.
Daren is a clinical nurse specialist in plastic surgery. Thousands of patients have benefited from his skill and knowledge in his 30 years' service to the NHS.
The NHS at 65
To mark 65 years since the NHS began, we are highlighting stories of great care and pioneering work that encapsulate a healthier England.
This is just some of the excellent work being carried out by and with the NHS to offer better, more equal care to all.
Daren, 50, works for Barts Health NHS Trust in east London, based at the Royal London Hospital.
Working with a team of six consultant plastic surgeons Daren heads a small but extremely busy department dealing with complex wound care in clinics and on the wards.
His cases range from road accident casualties who have suffered major lower limb trauma to patients undergoing reconstructive surgery following breast or skin cancers.
Patients with unpredictable plastic surgery needs
"I take people on a journey," explains Daren, summing up his working day.
"I’m everywhere – on the wards and in clinics. Every day is different and unpredictable, including clinics, wound care and plastic surgery issues." Daren describes the techniques involved, including skin grafting, flaps, excision of moles and lesions and treatment of large-scale wounds.
"Then there's elective plastic surgery following breast reconstruction, and working with the maxillofacial teams in wound care issues following major reconstructive work."
"I work on my own and never know what I am going to come into. I’m never bored. Apart from our own elective work we are often asked to advise on treating larger wounds."
Times change but care stays the same
Since his training at Salisbury School of Nursing in Wiltshire during the early 1980s Daren has witnessed a "phenomenal" change in treatments.
"Nothing stands still in healthcare. Every day there are new techniques, new types of treatments and advances in wound care. Boundaries are constantly being pushed back," he says.
"The NHS continually changes too. When I started it was all district health authorities, then NHS Trusts. This current change of developing NHS England as a separate entity to Scotland and Wales is the biggest change I've seen. But the NHS ethos is still the same. I wouldn't want to work outside it."
Recognition for sterling work
Daren’s dedication was recognised in the 2012 New Year honours list when he was awarded an MBE for services to nursing and healthcare.
His notification letter – marked On Her Majesty's Service – spent a week in a drawer as he thought it was a tax bill.
"I had to read it three times before it actually sank in. Then I rang the number on it to make sure it wasn’t a joke.
"I was walking on air. It hasn’t changed me or my work but it is a lovely thing."
Keeping the secret until the official announcement was a six-week test for his delighted elderly parents. On the day, Daren's 85-year-old dad raced to the newsagents and bought half a dozen newspapers. And he was swamped with congratulations and jibes in equal measure from co-workers who hung bunting heralding his honour at his clinics so that every patient saw it.
NHS Wales is the publically funded National Health Service of Wales providing healthcare to some 3 million people who live in the country. The NHS has a key principle which is that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.
If you are looking for information from a patient's perspective then NHS Direct Wales is a health advice and information service available 24 hours a day, every day.
Health in Wales is the website of National Health Service (NHS) Wales, and brings together information sources about health services and the health and wellbeing of the population of Wales.
NHS Wales provides services ranging from smoking cessation, antenatal screening, and routine treatments for coughs and colds to open heart surgery, accident and emergency treatment and end-of-life care.
Setting health policy for the NHS in Wales and the funding for health services is the responsibility of the Welsh Government.
More information on the system can be found on the Welsh Government's web page below:
Together for Health is the Welsh Government's five year vision for the NHS.
It is based around community services with patients at the centre, and places prevention, quality and transparency at the heart of healthcare.
The Together for Health document also outlines the challenges facing the health service and the actions necessary to ensure it is capable of world-class performance.
You can find more information on health policy in our Strategies page:
Department of Health and Social Services Organisation and Reporting
The Welsh Government's Departments are headed by senior civil servants. The Director General for Health and Social Services is David Sissling who is also Chief Executive of NHS Wales. As Chief Executive, NHS Wales, he is accountable to the Minister for Health and Social Services, and is responsible for providing her with policy advice and exercising strategic leadership and management of the NHS.
The Department for Health and Social Services advises the Welsh Government on policies and strategies for health and social care in Wales. This includes contributing to relevant legislation and providing funding for the NHS and other related bodies.
The Chief Medical Officer holds the appointment of Director of the Department for Public Health and Health Professions.
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO) leads on policy and programmes for the protection and improvement of people's health and for the reduction in inequalities in health. It also provides professional and medical advice to Ministers, the Health & Social Care Department and other parts of the Welsh Government.
The National Health Service Wales
NHS Wales is one service made up of a number of organisations.
The NHS Wales Directory of Services provides contact details for all NHS Wales organisations, groups and individuals:
More about the way in which the service is structured can be found below:
The NHS in Wales employs close to 72,000 staff which makes it Wales’ biggest employer. The NHS is a labour intensive service and its pay bill accounts for at least 75% of its total annual cost.
NHS Staff are drawn from many professions and occupational groups and work in variety of settings across Wales. In addition to staff employed directly by the NHS there are contractor professions including dentists, opticians, pharmacists and nearly 2,000 General Practitioners (GPs) who predominantly work in primary care settings.
Statistics on NHS Wales staffing are available from the Statistical Directorate of the Welsh Government.
NHS Employers represents trusts on workforce issues and helps employers to ensure the NHS is a place where people want to work. NHS Employers is part of the NHS Confederation.
The Welsh NHS Confederation is an independent membership body for the full range of organisations that make up today’s NHS in Wales.
In 2013 the NHS underwent a major transformation. The information below explains the new NHS and its core structure.
Download the leaflet Understanding the new NHS (PDF, 1.23Mb)
Overview of organisations and their role
The Secretary of State for Health
The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the work of the Department of Health (DH). DH provides strategic leadership for public health, the NHS and social care in England.
The Department of Health
The Department of Health (DH) is responsible for strategic leadership and funding for both health and social care in England. The DH is a ministerial department, supported by 23 agencies and public bodies. For detailed information, visit the DH website.
NHS England is an independent body, at arm’s length to the government. It's main role is to improve health outcomes for people in England. It:
Find out more about NHS England, its vision and business plan for the NHS.
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
Clinical commissioning groups replaced primary care trusts (PCTs) on April 1 2013. CCGs are clinically led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services for their local area. CCGs members include GPs and other clinicians such as nurses and consultants. They are responsible for about 60% of the NHS budget and commission most secondary care services such as:
CCGs can commission any service provider that meets NHS standards and costs. These can be NHS hospitals, social enterprises, charities or private sector providers. However, they must be assured of the quality of services they commission, taking into account both National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) data about service providers.
Both NHS England and CCGs have a duty to involve their patients, carers and the public in decisions about the services they commission.
If you want to learn more about how commissioning in England works, download the leaflet Commissioning - What's the big deal? (PDF, 297kb).
Health and wellbeing boards
Every "upper tier" local authority has established a health and wellbeing board to act as a forum for local commissioners across the NHS, social care, public health and other services. The boards are intended to:
For more information read:
Public Health England
Public Health England (PHE) provides national leadership and expert services to support public health, and also works with local government and the NHS to respond to emergencies. PHE:
For more information visit the GOV.UK website.
July 5 1948 – The NHS is born
When health secretary Aneurin Bevan opens Park Hospital in Manchester, it is the climax of a hugely ambitious plan to bring good healthcare to all. For the first time, hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists are brought together under one umbrella organisation to provide services that are free for all at the point of delivery.
The central principles are clear: the health service will be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means.
1952 – charges of one shilling are introduced for prescriptions
Prescription charges of one shilling (5p) are introduced and a flat rate of £1 for ordinary dental treatment is also brought in on June 1 1952. Prescription charges are abolished in 1965 and prescriptions remain free until June 1968, when the charges are reintroduced. Find out about today's prescription costs.
1953 – DNA structure revealed
On April 25, James D Watson and Francis Crick, two Cambridge University scientists, describe the structure of a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid in Nature magazine.
DNA is the material that makes up genes, which pass hereditary characteristics from parent to child. Crick and Watson begin their article:
"We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest."
Knowing the structure of DNA allowed the study of disease caused by defective genes. Read about today's genetic developments.
1954 – smoking and cancer link established
In the 1940s, the British scientist Sir Richard Doll begins research into lung cancer after incidences of the disease rise alarmingly. He studies lung cancer patients in 20 London hospitals and expects to reveal that the cause was fumes from coal fires, car fumes or tarmac. His findings surprise him and he publishes a study in the British Medical Journal, co-written with Sir Austin Bradford Hill, warning that smokers are far more likely than non-smokers to die of lung cancer. Doll gives up smoking two-thirds of the way through his study and lives to be 92.
1954 – daily hospital visits for children introduced
Until now, children in hospitals are often allowed to see their parents for an hour on Saturdays and Sundays only and are frequently placed in adult wards, with little attempt to explain to them why they are there or what is going to happen.
Paediatricians Sir James Spence in Newcastle and Alan Moncriff at Great Ormond Street are making considerable steps to change this, demonstrating that such separation is traumatic for children. As a result, daily visiting is introduced gradually. Learn about children in hospitals today.
1958 – polio and diphtheria vaccinations programme launched
One of the primary aims of the NHS is to promote good health, not simply to treat illness. The introduction of the polio and diphtheria vaccine is a key part of NHS plans. Before this programme, cases of polio could climb as high as 8,000 in epidemic years, with cases of diphtheria as high as 70,000, leading to 5,000 deaths.
This programme ensures everyone under the age of 15 is vaccinated and will lead to an immediate and dramatic reduction in cases of both diseases. Watch the video about Immunsation advances.
There are lots of myths about general practice out there, especially in secondary care. So what is it really like?
"All GPs do is see coughs and colds". If only life were that simple! The reality is that GPs nowadays have to be experts in dealing with the very complex multiple morbidity that an ageing population has to endure, and that's without all the social aspects thrown in just to further complicate things.
"Consultants are smarter". No they are not. General practice is where the real challenge is. Balancing the complex multiple morbidity of our ever increasing elderly population and the demands of their many medical problems whilst involving them and taking their wishes into account can be a real challenge.
"GPs have a quiet life!" If only! One of the things our new trainees often comment on is how busy life in general practice can be.
"GP is 9-5" Not any more its not. Most GPs start at 8am when the surgery opens and are still there at 6pm when it closes. Whilst the vast majority opt out of providing on-call cover out with those hours it is not unusual to find us out at other times caring for palliative care patients. That said, in a recent email survey of GP Trainees and GPs in their first 5 years, the most frequently cited reason for choosing general practice was that the speciality is compatible with family life (76.6% of women and 63.2% of men).
"GPs just admit all difficult cases to hospital." Increasingly the complex cases are managed at home or in local community hospitals that are GP run. Many community hospitals have Xray facilities, can manage blood transfusions, intravenous infusions and medication etc and patients can require fairly intensive management.
"Consultants are the opposition" Only when it comes to recruiting the best trainees! The rest of the time we work closely together. We should never forget we are all playing for the same team, the NHS.
We are happy to announce that the UK Medical Professionals Recruitment Day event is now open for exhibitor registration!