Yesterday, Britain’s NHS celebrated its 70th birthday – a day that was marked in Newcastle by locals writing messages in a massive birthday card near Grey’s Monument.
Campaigners from the group Keep Our NHS Public handed out pieces of birthday cake to passers-by while encouraging them to write birthday greetings to the NHS in the card.
The event not only aimed to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the world’s first national public health service, but also to raise awareness of the threat of the creeping privatisation of the NHS.
The north-east coordinator of Keep Our NHS Public, John Whalley, said, “We want to thank all of the hard-working staff in our hospitals and community services – all the medical staff but also all the support staff.”
“That’s the main reason why we’re here today.”
“The second reason we are here today is that our group is very concerned about the privatisation of health services.”
“Our NHS should be publicly provided, publicly funded and accountable.”
Keep Our NHS Public North East in London yesterday. Fantastic day with group members, plus making many new friends – but, most importantly, a very clear message to the NE CCGs and central Government: ICSs (aka ACOs) = privatisation = Not In Our Name#NHS70 @NHSngccg @nhsnecs pic.twitter.com/E64aNEeEqm
— KONP North East (@KONPNorthEast) July 1, 2018
After adding her greetings to the card, Rachel Sage, from Hexham, said, “I’m absolutely passionate about the NHS.”
“I’ve been a nurse for 15 years and I’m inspired by how much we try to meet people’s needs, irrespective of how much wealth they have.”
“My dad’s had cancer and had amazing treatment which prolonged his life. I suspect if it was privatised none of us would be able to do this.”
The NHS was launched in 1948 as one of several social reforms following the Second World War. The National Health Service was founded on three basic principles: that it should meet the needs of everyone, that it should be free at the point of delivery and that the delivery of its services should be based on people’s medical needs rather than their ability to pay.
In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the role of private companies in the National Health Service. Department of Health figures show that the amount of NHS funding going to private companies rose from £4.1 billion in 2009/10 to £8.7 billion in 2015/16.
(Featured image courtesy of John K Thorne, from Flickr Creative Commons.)