RCPsych President attends Westminster Abbey to mark 75th anniversary of NHS

Statement / comment
05 July 2023

Dr Adrian James at Westminster Abbey - NHS 75th anniversaryDr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, is going to attend a special service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS today. 

The event will be attended by members of the Royal Family, senior politicians, health leaders, celebrities and around 1,500 NHS workers.

Reflecting on the NHS 75th anniversary, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Adrian James said:

“The founding of the NHS in 1948 was a groundbreaking first step towards addressing everyone’s health and mental health needs. The health service has come a long way in the last 75 years, and we now rightly prioritise the treatment of mental illnesses. The asylum system of care is long gone, with the vast majority of mental health services now delivered in the community.

“Our approach to care has transformed. The one size fits all approach focused solely on treating mental illness has been replaced with person-centred and holistic care which aims to address each person’s physical health, mental health and social needs.

“Our expertise as psychiatrists has grown considerably. Psychiatry is now a speciality of choice for many doctors with its unique mix of sub-specialities and ability to transform individual lives. Today, there are psychiatrists who specialise in treating children and young people, new and expectant mothers, older adults and those experiencing addiction, eating disorders and other disorders. These roles simply didn’t exist 75 years ago. 

“As a psychiatrist, I am pleased to see mental illnesses that went unrecognised for centuries are now not only being diagnosed and treated but are also the focus of songs, documentaries and films. People are being encouraged to speak openly and honestly about their experiences without fear of judgement or retaliation.  

“As we look forward to the next 75 years, we must focus our efforts on preventing mental illness and tackling root causes including racism, inequality, bullying and abuse. We must also deliver on the promise to prioritise mental and physical health equally and recognise that there is no health without mental health.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has created a timeline of key events in the history of psychiatry to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

We have also released an in-depth blog post that takes people from the National Health Service Act of 1948 all the way to the recent election of Dr Lade Smith CBE as the College’s newest President.

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