NHS 75th birthday

Our NHS. 75 years, One Team

5 July 2023

Staff are the backbone of our NHS, with over 1.5 million people working as one team to deliver safe patient care.

From wards to walk-ins, corridors to communities, offices to operating theatres, labs to laundries and everywhere in between, UNISON celebrates the dedicated and diverse team of staff who have steered our health service to its 75th birthday.  

It’s the pride of our nation and the envy of many others. And it’s all thanks to NHS staff. 

It’s also no coincidence that the 75th anniversary of Windrush on 22 June is within the same fortnight. Windrush Day marks the arrival of the generation of Commonwealth citizens who helped to transform our public services and build our NHS. We pay tribute to them and thank today’s workforce of over 200 nationalities, without whom our health service would not function. 

Let’s celebrate, of course. But now, more than ever, it is vital that we stand together to defend our precious NHS from those who seek to undermine its fundamental values.   

Record waiting lists and a staffing emergency were never part of the vision, but they’re the reality in our NHS right now. We must turn the tide on chronic underfunding which leaves staff burnt out and patients waiting months for vital treatment. We must end the scourge of outsourcing, which creates a two-tier workforce with privately contracted workers on poverty pay. And we must keep staff in the NHS by rewarding them fairly for all the hours they work, at the right band for the job. 

UNISON continues to fight for: 

  • a publicly owned NHS that remains free for all at the point of use
  • an urgent funding boost and proper staffing levels
  • world class health and care services for everyone 

The NHS is a symbol of national pride, but it faces enormous challenges. We will fight to protect and rebuild this most special institution, and to properly value the staff who keep it running.  

Our health, our strength, our NHS. Here’s to the next 75 years of teamwork.  

Get your branch ready for the birthday

  • Branch activity guide – plenty of ideas big and small to help you mark the day
  • Graphics suite – brand up your branch social media, email, website and video calls!
  • Workplace poster – invite members and other staff to your NHS and Windrush anniversary activities. There’s space for your branch to write event details.
  • Public-facing leaflet – If you’re holding birthday activities in public spaces, or where there’s patient footfall, order these leaflets to let everyone know why we are celebrating and the challenges facing the NHS.
  • Big birthday card – get patients and the public to sign birthday messages for the NHS and thanks to staff (A2 design to send to your local printer)