There was bunting, balloons and birthday cake at Epsom and St Helier recently, as staff from across the hospitals joined the NHS 70 celebrations.
To celebrate the 70th birthday of our National Health Service, a whole host of special events took place at the hospitals, including tea parties for patients, special concerts from the Epsom and St Helier Choir and gifts for babies born on the big day. Staff also got into the spirit of the day by sharing old pictures of themselves as they joined the NHS or went through their training, and by wearing 1940s-style uniforms as they enjoyed tea and birthday cake.
Daniel Elkeles, Chief Executive said: “Seven decades from when the NHS was launched (by the then Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan, at Park Hospital in Manchester known today as Trafford General Hospital) and millions of patients later, the NHS is one of this country's greatest institutions and has had a profound and lasting effect on billions of people. I am very proud to be the Chief Executive of an NHS Trust and I would like to say a big thank you to all of our extraordinary staff members (past and present), as well as our volunteers, for their hard work, dedication and support. Thanks again to everyone who got involved in the festivities and those who helped make the birthday (and week) so special.”
As well as numerous tea parties taking place, we had the pleasure of welcoming 16 new babies in our hospitals on the NHS's birthday - 10 girls and six boys (eight at each site), who were given a special '70' hat and bib.
But it wasn't just new arrivals who shared their special day with the NHS, former Neonatal Sister Vida who worked at St Helier for over 15 years also celebrated her 70th birthday on NHS’s 70th. Two of our renal patients also celebrated milestone birthdays, as they turned 80, and were given special NHS70 badges as a memento of the day.
After plenty of cake, our celebrations continued into the evening at an NHS concert. With over 300 people in the audience, our staff choir took to the stage at G-live in Guildford for the NHS 70 celebrations and sang their hearts out to some fantastic tunes including a birthday anthem called ‘Stand Together’, written by our very own choir mistress, Anne Whittet.
Anne said: “Performing at G-live was a brilliant experience and the feedback on our performance was overwhelming – everyone really enjoyed my composition of ‘Stand Together’. Singing and playing the piano at the concert was one of my key highlights of the evening, but so was hearing Dr Claire Fuller, Surrey GP and Senior Responsible Officer of Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, outline how the existence of the NHS transformed healthcare in Surrey and the overall medical advances and improvements the NHS has made to public health. Overall it was a great atmosphere and seeing everyone come together to celebrate NHS’s achievements over the past 70 years made me feel really proud to be a part of this institution.”
After a very eventful day (week), we cooled down our celebrations with ice cream. Small ice cream tubs were given out to all our staff members as a small token of appreciation for all their hard work all year round.