The Edinburgh office of BBC Scotland has a lot to be grateful to the NHS for lately. .
Political editor Glenn Campbell, a colleague of mine, has recently been MIA after being hospitalized for a week following a serious bicycle accident involving a pothole.
He was treated by paramedics, A&E, and a trauma team, but thankfully he is recovering now. .
At the end of a complicated pregnancy, Claire McAllister, our health producer, found herself in high dependency around the same time. .
Again, the staff was outstanding and delivered a sweet premature bundle of joy. Both mother and child are doing well.
What would those experiences have been like 75 years ago, when the NHS was founded, made me wonder.
For a baby born in 2023, I also wonder what the NHS will look like in the future.
Clearly, despite increasingly challenging conditions, the health service continues to perform superbly. .
But Covid and its aftermath have put a system that has been in trouble for years to the test, and the experts' predictions for the future are gloomy. .
The two biggest problems are finding enough people with the necessary skills to meet demand and paying the skyrocketing bills.
BBC Scotland commissioned a survey earlier this year to learn your thoughts on the healthcare system. The majority of respondents said they expected the NHS to remain free at the point of need in 10 years and thought the wealthiest individuals should pay for it. .
Scotland's budget for health and social services this year is £19 billion. That is significantly more than what is spent on transportation, justice, and education put together, but it is still insufficient. .
Taxpayers who earn more than £43,662 already pay an additional penny in the pound, with the money going to the NHS and raising £129 million in Scotland.
To put that into perspective, however, it should be noted that the pay raises given to nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals this year cost more than £500 million.
Many people can now live comfortably with quite complex medical conditions or be cured of disease thanks to enormous advancements in medicine and technology over the past 75 years.
While this is reason for celebration, health board budgets often do not allow for the purchase of new facilities or equipment, let alone the most expensive medications.
In comparison to when the NHS was first established, demand is now significantly higher.
Scotland continues to be a seriously unhealthy country despite having some of the best public health policies in the world.
Nowadays, one-third of adults are obese, and one-fourth drink to dangerous or unhealthy levels.
A fifth of the population or so is considered to be poor. .
In the upcoming years, an increasing number of these people will require assistance with multi-disease syndromes, such as cancer or heart disease.
The second major problem facing Scotland's NHS is the workforce. .
By 2043, Scotland's pensionable population is projected to grow by 35 percent, while the working-age population is predicted to decline by 3 percent and the number of children to fall by 22 percent. .
There are already high rates of vacancies in the NHS and a dire need for social caregivers.
I recently saw a presentation slide that claimed three out of every 20 primary school students in Scotland will need to choose a career in the NHS in order to meet the demand. .
One solution is to recruit foreign workers for the NHS, but many local clinicians are also searching abroad for more lucrative positions as the health system struggles to hold on to its current workforce.
While waiting on record-long waiting lists, thousands of people wonder if the NHS is actually providing the safety net they were promised, from birth to death.
It is very challenging to imagine how decision-makers could continue to provide the level of service we have grown accustomed to. .
In addition, while the majority of respondents to our BBC poll supported keeping the NHS free at the point of use, 43 percent said they would be inclined to seek out private care if they had to wait a long time for care.
During the previous year, almost 10% had already done so.
However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has made it clear that he opposes a two-tiered health care system and that it must adhere to its core values.
These are problems that affect the entire UK, but many professional bodies and unions have criticized the Scottish government for making promises that are unrealistically ambitious.
The spending watchdog also stated that the government must be open and transparent with the public about its priorities and the financial capacity of the NHS.
There are therefore many challenging and possibly unpopular decisions that must be made. .
Do you increase taxes, reduce other public spending, or even impose fees on certain healthcare services?
If not, the NHS will likely have to reduce some of its services.
Although the NHS is celebrating a significant birthday, there won't be much of a party while the hard work continues.