Celebrating the NHS at 75 years old.

Primary Care Sheffield has joined organisations and individuals around the country today in celebrating the 75th Birthday of the NHS. Our teams are celebrating today and we’re using the opportunity to share information about the important role and unique history of primary care services within the NHS. 

Treating over a million people a day in England, the NHS touches all our lives. When it was founded in 1948, it was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery.

Primary Care Sheffield is proud to deliver NHS services as part of the general practice and primary care services which are the cornerstone of the NHS.

How does General Practice fit into the NHS?

The system of General Practitioners (GPs) and primary care are a vital part of the NHS services. They are very often the first point of contact for anyone with a physical or mental health need and either treat patients or refer them on to the appropriate pathway for diagnosis and treatment. Primary care services are also involved in the prevention of illness.

When the NHS was formed in 1948, for various reasons GPs were not brought into the NHS in the same way hospital doctors were, but remained as independent contractors. Over time, however, GPs and primary care services have become embedded within the NHS with their services commissioned by the NHS through the GP contract.

Most GP practices are operated by a partnership of two or more GPs. The GP or GP partners are contracted to the NHS to provide primary care services. The GP partners are responsible for employing other staff to provide services, such as salaried GPs, nurses, and other healthcare-associated staff, a practice manager and administration staff.

There were 28.7 million appointments in general practice in May 2023. 43.9% of appointments that month took place on the same day that they were booked. About 70% of all appointments in May 2023 were carried out face to face. Around half of total appointments in general practice are provided by GPs and half by other patient care staff, including nurses.

Dr Andy Hilton, GP and Chief Executive of Primary Care Sheffield said, “On a personal level I am immensely proud to work in the NHS which I see everyday making a difference to people’s lives. As a GP and Chief Executive of Primary Care Sheffield I also see the vital role that primary care and general practice play within the NHS which I think can often be overlooked and misunderstood.

“The NHS might not be perfect and at the moment we are facing a huge number of challenges but fundamentally it is a system that works and with proper resourcing we can meet the challenges and create an NHS that will thrive over the next 75 years and beyond. I will continue to make the case that investment in primary care services needs to be at that heart of that model for the future.”