On this day in 1948, the NHS was born, and for the first time anywhere in the world, completely free healthcare was made available on the basis of citizenship.
In the years since, the NHS has changed dramatically, and the health of the nation has changed with it, but it has always relied in some part on the good will of philanthropists and local communities.
Here at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, we have been very lucky to have amazing support from the local community over the years, and indeed, the provision of healthcare in Harrogate has benefited a huge amount by the charitable support we have received.
For over 50 years, the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity, formerly the League of Friends, has been raising funds to make a difference to the patients and staff in Harrogate hospitals and during this time they have raised over £2 million to improve the facilities and environment. Their support continues today – only last weekend many of you will have attended their annual Big Picnic which now sees over 28,000 attending during the day, raising around £8-10,000 every year.
Charitable donations have helped us to make such a difference to our patients, above and beyond what the NHS can provide. This includes the purchase of state of the art equipment including an MRI scanner in 2005 and a new Nuclear Medicine Scanner.
Charitable donations have also funded items ranging from flower planters in the very early days, phone trollies when a phone was passed around to beds where a patient needed to make a call, to our recent refurbishment of the children’s outpatient department. Your support also funds the complementary therapy service in our Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Cancer Centre.
Here in Harrogate, as with the rest of the UK, we are very lucky to benefit from the NHS and healthcare provision free at the point of delivery, and the care that we receive from all of the fantastic staff is something that we should cherish.
However, the NHS and healthcare provision would not be as good as it is without the charitable support that it receives. Throughout the UK, charities linked with NHS trusts provide additional funding of around £330 million a year.
In 2015, Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity was launched as the official charity for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, with the Friends continuing their amazing support as a fundraising group of the charity.
We are so grateful for all the amazing support we receive and I would encourage you to continue your valuable support.
We have some fantastic plans to make a huge difference ranging from small pieces of equipment that can reduce a patient’s length of stay, to state of the art equipment that will radically change the care we are able to provide alongside projects such as the refurbishment of our Woodlands Children’s Ward Activity areas which our younger patients can use and enjoy away from their hospital beds.
Help us to continue to improve the healthcare provision we are so fortunate to have and support us at our events, or get involved in your own fundraising.
Check out our website or find us on Facebook for details of all of our upcoming events including our It’s A Knockout Tournament on Sunday 30 September and the Friends of Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity’s Big Variety Show on 18 November at the Royal Hall.