As the NHS turns 70, it is an important time to not only celebrate all of the great achievements that have occurred over the past decades, but to look forward to how we can improve for the future.
Society has changed significantly since times of austerity in 1948, yet the NHS still remains an important and consistent part of the lives of many people in the north east.
Despite its continuation, the NHS is not infallible, and though it has survived the last 70 years, in its current state, the NHS needs greater attention and investment if it is to survive another 70.
The recent announcement of funding by the government is a welcome step, but is short of the four per cent uplift that the British Medical Association (BMA) and many health policy experts have suggested is the minimum needed to sustain the health service.
As important as investment in services is, it is the hardworking staff and the public who are the lifeblood of the NHS and should be celebrated.
From the birth of a baby to palliative care at the end of life, the NHS is there for us when we need it most.
The government must ensure it is there for the NHS and give it the necessary support and investment it needs to not only survive, but thrive, for decades to come.
Dr George Rae
BMA North East regional council chairman