When the NHS came into being on 5th July 1948, Bert and Vi Reed had already been operating this pharmacy for nearly 2 years. When we came here we inherited Bert’s prescription books, which make fascinating reading. For a start, every prescription was private, so each one had to be copied by hand into the prescription book. I can’t imagine trying to do that now. Quite apart from the writer’s cramp due to lack of practice, the number of prescriptions has increased substantially. We dispense around six times as many as Bert was doing then each day.
To what extent the NHS has increased that is hard to judge. I’m sure that in the days when you paid the full price of medicines there must have been a real disincentive to seek treatment. I can’t imagine what it would have been like trying to find the money to pay for your children’s treatment, for example, during hard times.
We have worked for the NHS since 1978, and in my eyes it remains one of the civilising glories of our country. That’s not to say I’m blind to its faults, but it has done a lot to make healthcare available to all, and nowhere is that better exemplified than in community pharmacies. You can just walk in off the street and get the help and advice you need.
Long may it remain so.