Key innovations from the NHS

A history of innovation in the NHS

Creation of the NHS

For the first time, health care became free for all in the UK.

  NHS Timeline   Creation of the NHS
Prescription medicine Prescription charge

The NHS introduce a charge of one shilling for prescription medicine and new charges for dental treatments.

First mass vaccination programme

Polio and diphtheria jabs offered to under 15s. Before introduction, there were 8,000 cases of polio and 70,000 of diphtheria each year.

First mass vaccination programme
Enoch Powell set out a 10 year vision The Hospital Plan

Enoch Powell set out a 10 year vision to provide every population of 125,000 with a hospital – or district general hospital as they became known. This was the birth of the modern hospital.

The UK’s first heart transplant

The operation involved 18 doctors and nurses and lasted seven hours. This was the tenth in the world at the time but the patient died 46 days after the operation. It wasn’t until 1979 that the first successful heart transplant was completed.

Image source: Getty – contributor
The UKs first heart transplant
Introduction of CT scans Introduction of CT scanning technology

The introduction of CT scanners would revolutionise how doctors examine the body. CT scans produced three-dimensional images from a series of two-dimensional X-rays for the first time.

World’s first test tube baby

Louise Joy Brown was delivered in Oldham District General Hospital by planned caesarean section.

Image source: PA

The worlds first test tube baby
Breast screening programme starts Breast screening programme starts

The introduction of mammograms, as well as improved drug treatments has been estimated to have cut deaths from breast cancer by a fifth.

The NHS Organ Donor Register is established

This came about as the result of a five year campaign by John and Rosemary Cox after their son Peter died in 1989. The NHS register was set up to co-ordinate supply and demand more efficiently.

The NHS Organ Donor Register is established
NHS introduces vaccinations for girls against cervical cancer NHS introduces vaccinations for girls against cervical cancer

This was the first time that a routine universal vaccine had been given to prevent a type of cancer. It is offered to every 12 and 13 year old girl in the country.

Meningitis B vaccine

The NHS vaccination programme against meningitis B for babies was the first national, routine, universal and publicly funded MenB vaccination programme in the world.

Image source: Alamy

Meningitis B vaccine

Wondering where the NHS will go from here? Check out our blog on the future of healthcare or alternatively, find out what discounts you have access to if you work for the NHS.