The Mayor of Greater Manchester and former Heath Secretary, Andy Burnham marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS with an event and blue plaque unveiling to commemorate Trafford General Hospital’s role as the birthplace of the NHS.
On 5th July 1948 Aneurin Bevan, Minister for Health, came to Park Hospital as it was then known to inaugurate the NHS. Nurses lined the hospital driveway to form a guard of honour to greet him and the Minister was given a tour of the hospital by the Matron. During his visit Mr Bevan was handed the keys to the hospital to symbolise its transfer into the new National Health Service.
On 5th July 2018, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham recreated this historic visit with a tour of the hospital and a visit to Ward 6, where the Mayor met patients and staff as Bevan did 70 years before, including nurses wearing uniforms from each decade.
The Mayor was joined by the Chair of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), Kathy Cowell OBE DL, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Lord Peter Smith and Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Andrew Western to commemorate the hospital’s place in history with a blue plaque unveiling.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “As the NHS turns 70, this is a moment to celebrate what it represents to each of us.
“In Greater Manchester this is an extra special anniversary. It was Trafford’s Park Hospital that Aneurin Bevan chose to visit on 5th July 1948 to stage the symbolic event of ‘receiving the keys’. It marked the beginning of a simple but pioneering notion – that healthcare should be provided based on need, not ability to pay.
“I’m very proud to follow in Bevan’s footsteps and have the opportunity to thank the staff who make sure our health service is still there for patients 70 years after its creation.”
Kathy Cowell, Chairman of MFT, said: “We are delighted that Trafford Council has awarded Trafford General Hospital a blue plaque to mark its very special place in the history of the NHS. The plaque will serve as a lasting legacy and daily reminder to all who visit and work here of the hospital’s proud history.”
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (the body made up of NHS organisations, councils and others – and responsible for the devolved £6bn health and care budget) said: “Greater Manchester is the birthplace of the NHS and the only area of the country with control of its own health and care budget. It was wonderful to celebrate the city’s unique place in NHS history; so much has been achieved here – world firsts and breakthroughs.
“Both the NHS and social care are 70 and on this special anniversary, I’d like to thank everyone who works and volunteers in our health and care services to provide the very best care and support for people here in Greater Manchester.”
Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council, said: “I was delighted to be present at the unveiling of Trafford General’s blue plaque and want to place on record my appreciation to all NHS staff, past and present, for the tremendous achievements of the past 70 years. I’m incredibly proud that Trafford is rightly recognised as the birthplace of the NHS and it was an honour to be part of such a special occasion.”
Park Hospital originally opened in 1929 as a Poor Law hospital. Its management passed to Lancashire County Council except for a period of six years during the Second World War when it served as a military hospital. It was renamed Trafford General Hospital in 1988 on its 40th anniversary as an NHS hospital.
Trafford General Hospital has seen many changes and developments over the years. Today its key services include Manchester Orthopaedic Centre where all planned hip replacements, shoulder, knee, wrist and ankle surgery takes place for patients from Trafford, Manchester, and Salford; a frailty and rehabilitation service for older patients and those with dementia or recovering from a stroke; a neuro-rehabilitation unit for patients recovering from brain injuries, and a nurse-led urgent care centre. It also provides a wide range of day surgery, outpatient clinics, and diagnostic services such as X-ray and MRI scanning.