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UHBW celebrates NHS 75 at Westminster and 10 Downing Street

Last updated: 12/07/2023

Weston General Hospital Nurse Joanna Poole stood outside 10 Downing Street

University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) colleagues joined national celebrations at 10 Downing Street and Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS on 5 July 2023.

Invitations to the events were received as a recognition of the contributions of NHS workers and volunteers.

Those who attended 10 Downing Street were personally invited to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay as well as Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard.

Joanna Poole, Director of Nursing at Weston General Hospital, attended the reception at 10 Downing Street. She said:

“It was an amazing experience to attend Downing Street to celebrate the NHS 75th birthday and it was an honour to represent my UHBW and BNSSG colleagues who go above and beyond every day.

“It was interesting to meet so many other colleagues from across the NHS, who worked in a range of areas and specialities.”

“Following a reception event, there was a hushed silence as the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the room. Health Secretary Steve Barclay also attended and thanked everyone for all the hard work we do. 

“Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, I did not meet Larry ‘Chief Mouser’ the cat.”

UHBW staff who attended Westminster Abbey NHS 75 service were nominated to attend by UHBW colleagues.

The Westminster Abbey NHS 75 Service included an address by NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard and saw over 1,500 NHS staff and volunteers, political leaders, health leaders and celebrities in attendance.

Sister Claire Pike stood in Westminster Abbey

Claire Pike, Senior Sister in the Emergency Dept & Same Day Emergency Care said:

“I had an amazing time. The speeches were amazing and emotional, and the choir was phenomenal.”

“There were inspirational guest speakers who have transformed the NHS such as Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020.

“I am grateful to my wonderful colleagues who nominated me to attend such a once in a lifetime event.”

 Jude Opogah, a UHBW Macmillan Cancer Support Worker said:

“Attending the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the birth of the NHS was a very humbling experience.

“Inspired by the speeches delivered on the day, I started to reflect on how this dynamic and diverse healthcare institution has touched the lives of so many people in so many different ways and continues to do so in spite of the challenges it faces.

“The celebration filled me with a sense of personal pride; and the collective belonging showed by all present sends out a loud and clear message that the NHS belongs to all of us and its future is in our hands.”

Dr. Mark Lyttle, Paediatric Accident and Emergency Consultant, said:

“It was a huge privilege to be invited to join the 75th birthday celebration service at Westminster Abbey.

“The inspiration of the venue itself was second only to that of being surrounded by the everyday legends of the NHS, who have all in their own way represented themselves, their patients, and their communities, to make the NHS so special.

“It showed that we have to continue to capture and keep that spirit to assure the future of our NHS, and I was incredibly proud and humbled to be part of that.”

Sophia Tang, an NHS befriender volunteer at Bristol Royal Infirmary said:

“Attending the service was a really special opportunity that allowed me to reflect on what it means to be a part of the NHS. I found the addresses most memorable, hearing stories of those our service has touched.

“Being a part of this organisation, and celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding, continues to inspire me be a future medic.”