Celebrating NHS75 at the Spectacular Westminster Abbey
By Rachael Jones, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin
“There will be no more doctor’s bill” declared Aneurin Bevan in 1948. A statement that signified the inception of a health and care system, free at the point of contact and accessible to all in the United Kingdom.
It is perhaps difficult to comprehend just how significant this step was in British history. Yet, seventy-five years on, at a special ceremony in Westminster Abbey, 1,500 NHS workers, as well as STW colleagues, were afforded the chance to celebrate and reflect on this historical landmark.
The birthplace of the National Health Service was in Tredegar, South Wales, the home of the Workman’s Medical Aid Society which provided the inspiration for the post-war minister’s grand plan to nationalise health and care.
Since then, the system has evolved into what we recognise today – much-loved but very much up against it. We all know the stresses and strains in which the NHS is under, and during speeches led by senior government officials and health leaders, this was not avoided.
Yet, alongside hymns led by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, the prayers and speeches shared with the congregation portrayed clearly just how unique the NHS truly is. We all share it, we all pay for it, everyone ends up needing it, and ultimately it binds us together. We also have our own individual relationship with it; it is there when we need it at some of the happiest and most difficult times of our lives.
Despite existing in a context, time and again the NHS has shown incredible resilience, adapting to new circumstances, and continuing to deliver exceptional care – finding the solutions when it needs it most.
Those who were lucky enough to attend the ceremony were each reminded of the indispensable role the NHS plays within our society, representing the power of collective action, and confidence that it will overcome its challenges.
As the NHS turned 75, the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, as well as the celebrations held across the country, have been a timely reminder of the immeasurable impact the NHS has on millions of lives, as well as the values in which it was first founded.
Everyone agreed it was a privilege to attend the ceremony, to celebrate the huge contributions of the NHS workforce, its amazing successes, and to proudly represent the NHS in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.
Attending the ceremony were Aaran West (Prescription Ordering Direct), Laura Clare (Finance), Marian Pugh and Ayeodeji Amosebi (General Practice), Amy Potts and Ceri Wright (Medicines Management) Jane Holloway (Maternity) Joseph Mascarenhas (Commissioning), and Rachael Jones (Communications and Engagement).