NHS 1948-1998 Today the National Health Service is Europe's largest employer. Over a million people - including doctors, nurses, therapists, porters, cleaners and administrative staff - look after our health, from the womb to old age. Pre-natal care for all expectant mothers has helped see the infant mortality rate drop from 1 in 25 babies dying in their first week to 1 in 114 today. Having so survived, children were once far more prey to infectious disease. Now, thanks in large measure to the NHS's immunisation campaigns the death rate of children under ten has fallen to one-sixth the 1948 figure. NHS surgeons now perform some 3.6 million operations annually. Improved techniques, for example in hip-replacement and cataract removal, mean that patients can return home in days rather than weeks. Transplant surgery that was once unheard of is now the norm. Whatever our age the old adage that prevention is better than cure is taken very much to heart by the NHS. Cancer screening programmes and general health education form an important part of a unique organisation dedicated to carrying the dreams of the service's founders into the next millennium.