On 5th July 1948, history was made and British society changed forever when the National Health Service was launched at Park Hospital, Manchester.
In the shadow of the Second World War, as the spirit of despair and division hovered over Europe, these soggy islands chose hope over fear, compassion for others over self-interest, life over death, as the age of healthcare for all was born. Thanks, in no small part, to the passion and persistence of Aneurin Bevan, who simply wanted to share the wisdom of his local miners’ self-run health service with the rest of the country – to ‘Tredegarize’ the UK – the NHS has since revolutionised health care in Great Britain, become the largest employer in the country, stood as a beacon of community care to the world and has improved and saved millions of lives.
As it reaches its 70th Birthday, we are encouraging religious bodies and community groups to give thanks for this institution and to show our appreciation to the thousands of women and men who give their all to care for our health and well-being today by hosting a series of activities and events celebrating the NHS.
Today, when it can feel as if a spirit of despair and division is again hovering over Europe, we believe now is the time to once again choose hope over fear, compassion for others over self-interest, life over death, bringing communities together as we rededicate our commitment to care for everyone in our society.