After half a century, it is hard to imagine life in Britain without the National Health Service and the health care, free at the point of delivery, it provides.
50 years to the day since it was founded, on July 5 1998 the NHS will be throwing open its doors to show the work that it does and how it has adapted and changed over the last half century.
NHS Day is an opportunity for the staff of the National Health Service, and the people who have come to trust and rely upon it, to learn more about each other's needs and expectations and to develop a better understanding of the scope and limitations of the NHS. It offers a special opportunity to think about the kind of NHS we can expect in the future: how will the NHS of the next 50 years adapt to meet changing lifestyles and needs?
Most activities marking the anniversary year will be locally shaped and organised so that as many people as possible from all communities can participate.
The NHS in Newcastle upon Tyne, for example, will trace these changes through a History of health care in the North East, a season of movies at the Tyneside Cinema and a special exhibition at the city's Laing Art Gallery featuring paintings 'from the vaults' chosen by local NHS staff.
Birmingham's Centenary Square will play host to a major event on NHS Day with prize presentations for schools' competitions, including one for the best design of the nurse's uniform of the future.
A key aspect of NHS Day will be giving people the chance to learn more about health and healthy living, as staff in hospitals, health authorities, GPs surgeries and clinics use this opportunity to explain their work to promote health and healthy living. For example, St James's and Seacroft University Hospitals in Leeds are co-ordinating a roadshow which will tour local shopping centres, schools and colleges in the run up to 5 July as well as an open day on NHS Day itself.
For further information contact:
Jane Henderson, NHS Executive, Tel: 0113 254 6208
As more and more events around the country take shape, we'll be putting them on-line - so don't forget to check the regional events to find out what's happening in your area.