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‘People take the health service for granted’ – first NHS baby

05 Jul 2023 4 minute read
Aneira ‘Nye’ Thomas became the first ever baby born on the NHS at Amman Valley Hospital in Wales – Image: Ella Pickover

People can “take the NHS for granted”, the first ever baby born on the NHS has said as she called for children to be taught about the “national treasure” in schools.

At a minute past midnight on July 5, 1948, Aneira “Nye” Thomas became the first baby born on the NHS at Amman Valley Hospital in Wales.

Mrs Thomas, who was named after the service’s founder Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, said she feels it is her duty to inform people about the work of the NHS.

In an interview to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS, and indeed her 75th birthday, Mrs Thomas said that she is “worried” about the future of the service.

She described how there are no more NHS dentists in the village she lives in, near Swansea in Wales, and the “interaction isn’t the same” with GPs any more.

But Mrs Thomas said that the service is our “national treasure” and she feels the NHS will still be around in another 75 years.

“The NHS touches all our lives and we’re all guilty of taking it for granted, even I do at times,” she told the PA news agency.

“In Wales, we don’t pay for prescriptions and sometimes I’m standing in a chemist and people are complaining about a wait of 10 minutes for prescriptions, and I feel like screaming ‘do you realise how lucky we are to have the health care system that we have’?”

She added: “The young people today do need more education not to take it for granted. I think (education about the NHS) should start from an early age, in primary school.”


Mrs Thomas added: “My mother always was proud of the fact that I was the first baby born into the NHS. When I was a little girl, I remember hiding behind her skirt when she would say ‘this is Nye, my national health baby’.

“It was to the talk of the village.

“It must have been amazing that people could afford healthcare, optical care, dentistry.

“I do worry now because in the village that I live, you can’t access a dentist without paying and GPs… the interaction isn’t the same.

“So I do worry about the future.”

Asked about her connection to the service, she added: “It was there for me the day I was born and will be there for me when I leave this world. It is our safety net isn’t it?

“I feel sometimes it’s my duty to speak up and shouted from the rooftops.

“If I’m in Cardiff, sometimes I sit in Queen Street and can see the statue of Nye Bevan.

“And we’ve got lots of visitors and they just look and see his name, and I think some people don’t know who he is, but before they leave, they do know because I tell them.”

She added: “When my both children were very ill, fighting for their lives, I was in Cardiff and I was looking up at his statue and it made me cry with thanks.

“It’s is our national treasure.”

Meanwhile the nurse who delivered the first-ever Covid vaccine in the NHS has said that she would like people to recognise the service as a “treasure” because “people don’t know what they have lost until the lose it”.

May Parsons, associate chief nurse director for risk governance and compliance at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, told PA: “I would wish people would recognise that it is such a treasure, not everybody has got has got an NHS like we do.

“We don’t know what we’ve lost until we lose it.”

Ms Parsons, who has worked in the NHS for 20 years after coming to the UK form the Philippines, said the service is “so immensely important” in people’s lives, adding: “Having the insight of being from a country where we didn’t have an NHS, or access to healthcare for everybody, it is such an immeasurable kind of relief for people.

“It’s something that everybody aspires to have a globally.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

No we don’t, not anymore…

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