On 5 July 1948, the National Health Service came into existence. 70 years on, it continues to be there for patients and communities. Its core values have stood the test of time: comprehensive care, free at the point of use, delivered on the basis of need rather than the ability to pay.
The NHS remains our most popular national institution – the thing that makes us most proud of our country. And it continues to come top when comparing it to healthcare systems which exist in other countries, for both fairness and efficiency. But we can never afford to take our NHS for granted.
Years of government under-investment have been accompanied by repeated attempts to break up and privatise NHS services. Our members work tirelessly every day to ensure that patients continue to receive the best care possible. But healthcare staff are also at the sharp end of cuts, experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and pressure in the workplace.
UNISON recognises that we need to continue to campaign to protect and defend our NHS. However, we also think it’s important to celebrate its achievements and everything it stands for.
What branches can do
- Come to the demonstration in London on 30 June and help celebrate and defend the NHS;
- Organise ‘Our NHS is 70’ themed birthday parties;
- Hold workplace and public stalls to help raise the profile of the whole team of NHS staff and the fantastic jobs you do;
- Share pictures of your events on social media using the hashtag #NHS70.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and you and your colleagues will have lots more brilliant ideas for the celebrations. The 70th anniversary provides us with a great opportunity to talk to NHS staff and recruit new members into the union to make sure it’s around for another 70 years.