First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: 

“Our NHS has gone from strength to strength over the past 70 years, and this anniversary is a real opportunity to appreciate the vital role the service plays in all our lives. 

“Health and social care services across the country have experienced many challenges and changes during this time, and while we have had to adapt and adjust, our commitment to provide an NHS free at the point of delivery remains key. 

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see NHS staff numbers sitting at the highest they have ever been as the service marks 70 years, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our staff working right across the NHS and our partner organisations and volunteers who support the NHS for their daily hard work and dedication.” 

Paul Gray,  

Director-General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive, NHSScotland said:  

Paul Gray

“I am proud to be the Chief Executive of NHSScotland as it celebrates its 70th Anniversary.  The NHS is one of the nation’s most well-loved institutions and touches the lives of all of us.  It’s there when we’re born and at every stage of our lives – providing the very best healthcare service when we need it.  From its origins, the NHS has continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of people with advances in medicine, science and technology.  What hasn’t changed is the dedication and compassion of staff – the people who make NHSScotland what it is today.  Working with our many partners to deliver integrated and person-centred care, health and care services will continue to develop to meet the changing needs of our population. I hope that during this year of the 70th Anniversary of the NHS we can reflect on how far we’ve come in Scotland, and look towards the future in the knowledge that we are continuing on a journey that has seen some of the world’s greatest achievements in health improvement and healthcare.  Please get involved and help us to celebrate the NHS.” 

Catherine Calderwood, 

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said: 

Catherine Calderwood

“I would like to congratulate NHSScotland as it celebrates 70 years of providing a health service to the population of Scotland. Since its birth, in a post war Scotland where rationing was still being imposed, it has been nurtured and grown into the largest public service organisation providing health and social care to the population of Scotland. Improvements in public health, clinical diagnosis, and maternity care along with advances in medicines, surgery and technology and a greater emphasis on prevention, health education and health literacy has meant that NHSScotland has had to adapt and evolve its service provision to meet the demands of a growing, more educated and ageing population while still providing its service free at the point of delivery; a key impact of its establishment in 1948. We are now moving into a new era of ‘Realistic Medicine’ in NHSScotland. Moving away from the current  “doctor knows best”  culture to shared decision making with the patient and their healthcare professional working together to decide what their priorities are for their care. In ‘giving the NHS back to the public’, who so support it, I am certain that NHSScotland can meet any future challenges.“ 

Fiona McQueen, 

Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: 

Fiona McQueen

“Like many birthdays, there are opportunities to reflect.  The seventieth year of our NHS is no different; if anything it’s more special. I suspect, the creators of our NHS had no real sense of the miracles that would take place each day across the country, courtesy of the NHS.  The lives saved, and pain and suffering soothed have been truly life changing. And similarly, the opportunity for professional growth of our professions, I suspect, could never have been anticipated. The roles nurses & midwives play in care delivery, as well as public health, have been truly transformational – with the level of education, as well as post graduate opportunities, making the professions almost synonymous with the NHS.  However the growth and importance of the multi-disciplinary team – with AHPs and Healthcare Scientists being fundamental for service delivery as well as securing our NHS for the future is what, I believe, makes it certain, our wonderful NHS will grow and flourish in the decades to come.  Our staff are truly unique in their professionalism and dedication, and I am grateful to them for all that they do.” 

Jason Leitch,  

Scotland’s National Clinical Director said: 

Jason Leitch

“In 1948 every household in Britain received a leaflet through their letterbox announcing the NEW NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE launching on 5th July. It said “Anyone can use it…men, women and children. Your right to use the National Health Service does not depend upon any payments”. It was a revolutionary moment. The first of its kind globally. Many things have changed about the National Health Services since then including the huge explosion in new technologies and drugs, massive progress in heart disease and stroke mortality and more recently work on quality in health systems including safety and compassion. However the core of NHSScotland is the same as the original vision – high quality healthcare, free at the point of need. As the service turns 70 I think it’s important to do two things – reflect and celebrate the successes achieved but also strive for continued improvement.” 

David Garbutt

Chair of NHS Education for Scotland and Chair of the NHS 70th Anniversary Steering Group, said:

David Garbutt

“Over the last 70 years, the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation and become the envy of the world as a health service which is free at the point of care. In our 70th Anniversary year we would like your support to help celebrate and promote its achievements and the vital role the service plays in our lives. We want to recognise not only the achievements which have been made, but also to acknowledge and thank the extraordinary NHS staff members – the everyday heroes – who have provided dedicated care and support for us, day in, day out, over these years. We are all proud of our NHS, it has delivered huge medical advances and improvements to public health, and this is a wonderful opportunity for staff members, and the Boards, to celebrate the 70th Anniversary. The achievements of NHSScotland, over those seventy years have been at the leading edge of improvements in patient care and the NHS continues to drive innovations and provide the quality of care which will ensure that we continue to live longer and healthier lives. None of this would be possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of NHS staff, as well as the many volunteers, charities and communities that support the service and this is our opportunity to tell the stories of these fantastic people, who come to our aid when the unexpected happens, and make a real difference to people’s lives. The history of the NHS is one of evolution, of responding to the changing needs of the nation, and this continues to be our challenge today.  Pressures on the service are greater than they have ever and, as the NHS turns 70, we should take this opportunity to explain how we are meeting these challenges and making the NHS fit for purpose for the future. We can all play a role in supporting the NHS in this special birthday year. We look forward to hearing your plans for the year and helping to support your initiatives where possible."