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'Did you know?'

that on a typical day
  • almost 700,000 people will visit their family doctor; 130,000 will visit the dentist
  • more than 130,000 people will be treated in hospital out-patient clinics
  • pharmacists will dispense around 1.5m items on prescription; and 2,000 babies will be delivered
  • in the community around 540,000 people will receive help in their home from the NHS
  • district nurses will make more than 100,000 visits; and chiropodists will provide about 6,000 sessions in patients' homes
  • in the country's 300 or so general hospitals, surgeons will perform around 220 hip operations, 750 heart operations and 2,100 kidney operations. Ambulances will make 8,000 emergency journeys and around 10,000 people will donate blood

that the National Health Service
  • means employment for around one million people the largest workforce in Europe and is indirectly responsible for many more jobs in other parts of the UK economy, from construction to the pharmaceutical industry
  • makes a massive contribution to the national economy through its direct spending to sustain Europe's biggest organisation, from clinical supplies to the food needed to feed patients and staff
  • in one year the NHS consumed 4.5m cans of baked beans, 1,800 tonnes of frozen chips and 5m pots of yoghurt is present in more locations than any other organisation in Britain;
  • put together the total NHS estate is bigger than a city the size of Bristol;
  • will spend around £42 billion in 1997/98 :the equivalent to more than £1,700 a year for every household in the country, or more than £1,000 a second.

that typical treatment costs
  • GP consultation: £12
  • Psychiatric out patient appointment: £100
  • Ambulance journey: routine (per patient) £9; emergency: £25
  • Cataract (in patient): £900
  • Coronary artery bypass graft: £5,100
  • Coronary angioplasty: £2,200
  • Kidney transplant: £7,000
  • Annual cost of renal dialysis: £29,000
  • Knee replacement: £3,300
  • Hip replacement: £3,300
  • Cholecystectomy (removal of gall bladder): £1,300

'And before the NHS...'

  • In Queen Victoria's times, you could only be admitted to Guy's Hospital in London on Thursdays at 11 o'clock in the morning.
  • Doctors once believed all diseases could be diagnosed by the noise they made and rejoiced at the invention of the phonendoscope which magnified sound.
  • In 1896 tobacco was heralded as an effective way of preventing disease.
  • Most nurses in 19th century workhouses collected their wages in beer.
  • The recommended cure for acute stomach ache in the 1700s was juice pressed from the dung of an ox.
  • Burying three quart jugs of a patient's urine was once regarded as a cure for kidney disease.
  • The first blood transfusion was performed in 1829.
  • The first vaccine against Smallpox was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner.
  • Chloroform was used as one of the first anaesthetics by James Simpson in 1847.
  • 1865 saw Joseph Lister pioneer the use of carbolic acid spray as one of the first antiseptics.
  • Cholera was linked to water sources by John Snow in 1855; 20 years earlier a cholera outbreak in Scotland was blamed on the decline of religion and the low price of whisky.

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