NHS chief executive Simon Stevens has today sent a message of “heartfelt thanks” to staff on the health service’s 70th anniversary, saying that the NHS’s enduring success is down to their “brilliance”.
In the message shared on the NHS’s birthday, Simon paid tribute to the achievements of 1.5 million doctors, nurses, ambulance staff, therapists, porters, caterers and countless others who, along with volunteers and those working behind the scenes make up the biggest care team in the world.
In his message Simon said: “Today we're marking the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. It's a time for celebration looking back over seven decades when we're all living a lot longer and healthier - more than 10 years extra.
“We've seen amazing medical advances, whether it's organ transplantations or new cures for cancer or vaccines.
“But the reason why the Health Service does so well is frankly due to the brilliance of the staff.”
Simon’s message, filmed in an ambulance control room, came as the country prepared to mark 70 years since the birth of the NHS on July 5, 1948.
It is delivered on the day that scores of buildings across the country - from the Eden Project in Cornwall to Everton Football Club, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye will be lit in the NHS’s trademark blue to celebrate the country’s most loved institution.
Thousands of Big 7Tea events are taking place across England to thank staff and raise awareness of NHS Charities while national celebrations at Westminster Abbey and York Minster will pay tribute to NHS staff and patients.
Participants in the Westminster Abbey service include Freya Lewis, a survivor of the Manchester terror attack, who has undergone more than 60 hours of surgery and has learned to walk again, and Dr Martin Griffiths, a leading NHS trauma surgeon who led a team treating victims of the London Bridge terrorist attack.
Singer Linda Nolan, who is being treated for breast cancer, will host a choral concert at York Minster and will be joined by 15-year-old Eve Senior, a survivor of the Manchester terror attack, who wants to become a nurse, and Amen Dhesi who became a carer at 13 for his dad who has bipolar disorder.
And 87 year old Ethel Armstrong MBE, who was working in the NHS on its first day, will be doing something unimaginable 70 years ago – running the @NHS Twitter account. Ethel is a former nurse cadet and radiographer who has given seven decades of service to the NHS through her working life and into retirement.