ON the 70th birthday of the NHS, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt writes exclusively for The Messenger

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our National Health Service this week, everyone across Trafford should be proud of the pivotal role the borough has had to play in its formation.

Launched in July, 1948, by Health Minister Aneurin Bevan at Trafford General Hospital, then known as Park Hospital, proposals for a National Health Service were first published in 1944 by the wartime coalition Government.

Now with more people living longer, the NHS is seeing and treating more patients than ever before. In 1948, there were 44 million total outpatient attendances; in 2016-17 there were 119 million. In 1948, three million people were treated in hospital; in 2016-17 there were 17 million. So we need to ensure the NHS has the funding in place to meet this growing demand.

In fact, NHS funding is going up in real terms each and every year of this Parliament – and has risen by £20billion in cash terms since 2010.

Since its inception in 1948, spending on the NHS has grown from £11.4billion at today’s prices, to more than £144billion, with five times more nurses and nearly ten times more doctors in place today than when it was founded.

By 2023/24, we will invest an extra £20.5billion a year – nearly £400million a week — in our NHS in real terms, alongside a 10-year plan for world-class healthcare with more doctors and nurses, improved cancer survival rates and better mental health services.

In fact, we are implementing the biggest increase in training places for doctors and nurses in the history of the NHS — increasing the number of training places by a quarter.

And Trafford is also looking to the future of healthcare, with an innovative £20million Health and Wellbeing Centre being developed at the former site of Altrincham Hospital.

Thanks to Cllr Sean Anstee and his fellow Conservatives, the new facility will integrate a number of health services under one roof, making it easier for patients to access the services they need.

Our cherished National Health Service is quite rightly the envy of many other countries across the globe, thanks to the amazing hard work and dedication of everyone who works in it.