Staffordshire commissioning staff join national celebration to mark 70th birthday of the NHS

Commissioning staff from across Staffordshire have been celebrating the achievements of the NHS on its 70th birthday. They have been commemorating it with a variety of events across clinical commissioning group (CCG) bases in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

To officially mark the occasion, two national celebration events were held at Westminster Abbey and York Minster with NHS organisations the length and breadth of the country invited to attend.

The Staffordshire CCGs drew lots to fill their quota and represent the staff who put in so much effort to ensure patients get the right care in the right place at the right time.

Those representing the CCGs at Westminster Abbey were Gemma Hall and Rebecca Patterson from the north, Sharon Finney and Sarah Gipp from the east and Kate Farrow and Alex Birch from the south.

Kate, a nurse with 25 years of experience is a CCG Head of Urgent Care. She said: “It was an amazing experience and very powerful. The opening reading was given by an 88-year-old nurse whose first day at work was on the day the NHS came into existence, which made us all a bit tearful.

"There were people there representing absolutely every profession in the NHS, and they are all needed to make it work. There were also people of all ages – I met a student nurse from Burton as we were going down to London on the train, and she was so excited to have been invited."

Sharon, a CCG Senior Commissioner, said: “I have worked for the NHS for over 25 years and seen many changes happen. Yesterday was such a proud day for everyone. I am particularly proud to work for an institution of high moral value, providing health for everyone, irrespective of gender, race, disability, age or sexual orientation and based on clinical need rather than the ability to pay.”

Sarah, from East Staffordshire CCG said: “The first testimony was from Olive Belfied, a former nurse who told the story of her experience from the very first day working in the NHS. Following this was a testimony from Freya Lewis, patient and Jenny Grant, Paediatric Critical Care Nurse. Freya explained the night of events following the Manchester bombing tragedy. In total, she received 18 injuries and is still receiving treatment and lost a number of friends. The celebration at Westminster Abbey was truly an excellent day.”

Rebecca, a Finance Management Assistant added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony at Westminster Abbey and I was very proud to represent North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs. The speech by the young girl, Freya Lewis, who survived the Manchester bomb attack, was incredibly moving and a reminder of how important the NHS is to us all.

“The NHS continues to face difficult and trying times, however despite this, staff continue to pull together to provide an excellent service to all. Freya’s speech was a reminder of this. The hymns chosen at the multi-faith service were fitting and allowed us all to reflect on the wonderful service the NHS provides, despite its imperfections. I particularly enjoyed listening to the choir and the organ.

"The NHS touches everybody at some point in their life. We should remember that this is our NHS and everybody has a part to play in ensuring the NHS continues to grow and develop for future generations.”