Blog: From birth until death, the NHS is there for us all

On its 75th birthday, UNISON commits, again, to fight for Nye Bevan’s vision

Graphic with the words 'Our NHS' on one line, with '75 years' and 'one team' below. All capital letters in either solid white or white outline, on a blue background that fades from dark blue at the top to light blue.

For 75 years, everyone in the UK has depended on the care, skills, experience and dedication of millions of workers, spread across thousands of communities.

I’ve always said: ‘If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a whole team to care for a patient’.

NHS staff work as one team, every day, to provide the best care they can for everyone who needs it.

People from all around the world help to make up that team. And that started when RMS Windrush docked in Tilbury, Essex just a few weeks before the NHS was born.

On this 75th anniversary of our treasured health service, I’m reminded of just how much work has gone into keeping it alive for so long. I’m reminded too, of how NHS workers have affected my life.

They helped me bring my daughter and son into this world, treated my own illnesses and those of my family, and protected us all through a terrifying pandemic. That’s why I don’t see representing our members as work – it’s a privilege.

Now, as the NHS has never been more needed, it’s more at risk than ever. It’s UNISON’s mission to represent and support NHS workers, so they can keep it going for another 75 years and beyond.

Fair pay for all NHS staff, a world-class service, with the decent funding it deserves – that’s our aim. It’s all of society’s responsibility to get this right, but UNISON will always lead the way.

UNISON members will be celebrating today, in workplaces across the UK. Because no matter which government is in power, and no matter how many Tory health ministers cause havoc and the managed decline in our NHS, we are resolute in our belief, that healthcare should be a universal public service, free at the point of use.

That was Nye Bevan’s vision – and that’s the NHS we will keep alive.