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The history of the NHS in England

The NHS in the 2010s

The NHS was celebrated at the London 2012 Olympic Games and is marking its 70th anniversary on July 5 2018.

2010 – Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS white paper

The white paper was launched on July 12 2010. It sets out proposals for the future of the NHS, including plans to make it more efficient, such as:

  • putting patients at the heart of everything the NHS does
  • focusing on continually improving those things that really matter to patients – the outcome of their healthcare
  • empowering and liberating clinicians to innovate, with the freedom to focus on improving healthcare services

Download Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS.

2012 – The Health and Social Care Act 2012

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 was first published on June 15 2012 and took effect on April 1 2013. The act brought in the most wide-ranging reforms of the NHS since it was founded in 1948.

It puts clinicians at the centre of commissioning, frees up providers to innovate, empowers patients and gives a new focus to public health. The act covers the following 5 themes:

  • strengthening the commissioning of NHS services
  • increasing democratic accountability and public voice
  • liberating provision of NHS services
  • strengthening public health services
  • reforming health and care arm's-length bodies

Read more about the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

2012 – London Olympic Games opening ceremony pays tribute to the NHS

The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games celebrated the NHS vision of universal healthcare, free and for everyone, as one of the core values of British society. More than 600 nurses and other healthcare workers joined Danny Boyle's army of volunteers during the extravaganza.

See the highlights of both the opening and closing ceremonies on the London 2012 website.

2012 – First person in the UK to have a hand transplant

On December 27 2012, a surgical team at Leeds General Infirmary carried out the UK's first hand transplant operation. It involved amputating Mark Cahill's hand and then transplanting a donor hand during the same operation.

Read the full story on the BBC website.

2013 – The NHS Friends and Family Test

Since 2013, patients have been asked whether they would recommend hospital wards and A&E departments to their friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment. This means every patient in these wards and departments can give feedback on the quality of the care they receive.

Learn more about the NHS Friends and Family Test.

2013 – AAA screening rolled out across England

The Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening programme was rolled out nationally in 2013 for all 65-year-old men. All men are now invited for an ultrasound scan in the year they turn 65 to check to check for an AAA, which is a bulge or swelling in the aorta.

By spotting aneurysms early, they can be monitored, prevented from getting worse and treated if necessary, saving the lives of thousands of older men.

Find out more about what AAA screening involves.

2014 – The NHS 111 telephone service goes nationwide

The NHS 111 telephone service was officially launched in February 2014. It was introduced to make it easier for people to access urgent healthcare services when they need medical help fast.

You should call 111 when you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency.

The NHS 111 service is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a team of fully trained advisers. They will ask questions to assess your symptoms and, depending on the situation, will then:

  • give you self-care advice
  • connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP
  • book you a face-to-face appointment
  • send an ambulance directly, if necessary
  • direct you to the local service that can best help you with your concern

Find out more about the NHS 111 telephone service.

2014 – Launch of My NHS gives patients access to more health data

Launched in September 2014, My NHS gathers data from across the system in one place, so professionals and the public can easily compare the performance of health and care services over a range of measures.

My NHS makes information about how health services are performing more open and accessible by providing performance data in plain format, along with data visualisations and the Open Data platform to encourage re-use by third parties.

Find out more on the My NHS website.

2014 – Five Year Forward View

In October 2014, the NHS Five Year Forward View was published, setting out "a vision of a better NHS, the steps we should now take to get us there and the actions we need from others".

The programme envisions a radical upgrade in prevention and public health, decisive steps to break down the barriers in how care is provided and moves to hand patients far greater control of their own care.

Find out more about the NHS Five Year Forward View.

2016 – One You

In 2016, Public Health England launched the first ever nationwide campaign to address preventable disease in adults. The One You campaign encourages adults, particularly those in middle age, to take control of their health so they can enjoy significant benefits now and in later life.

Find out more about NHS One You and try the How are you quiz to get a free personalised health score.

2017 – NHS 111 Online pilots

In 2017, NHS 111 Online was piloted in 4 locations in England. This new service enables people to use their smartphone, laptop or tablet to access the same healthcare services and advice offered by the NHS 111 telephone service.

NHS 111 Online helps direct patients to the right point of care. It will become available in more areas in England during 2018.

Check if NHS 111 Online is available in your area.

2018 – The NHS turns 70

The NHS celebrates its 70th birthday on July 5 2018. Visit the NHS 70 website to learn more and find out how you can get involved.

Page last reviewed: 06/06/2018

Next review due: 06/06/2021