Honouring the 70th birthday of the NHS at Westminster Abbey | Our news

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Honouring the 70th birthday of the NHS at Westminster Abbey

A Surgeon and Muslim Chaplain at Barts Health have spoken at a special ceremony held at Westminster Abbey in celebration of the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Imam Yunus Dudhwala and Surgeon Martin Griffiths were among speakers paying tribute to NHS staff and patients who have contributed to the health service over the last 70 years.

A service also took place at York Minster, with performances by the NHS Greenwich and Lewisham choir and Britain’s Got Talent finalists, the B-Positive Choir.                       

Around 3,000 NHS staff from across the country attended the ceremonies alongside representatives of charities, councils, and other key partners who work with the NHS.

Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “A society is judged by how it treats its people, especially the vulnerable. The NHS is a symbol of our dedication and compassion, free at the point of delivery regardless of race, age, wealth, colour or gender.

"Chaplaincy mirrors the NHS journey, there when people need us most. We look after the body, soul and spirit at birth, at death and all the times in between. The NHS is the epitome and pride of the nation, and I for one am honoured and privileged to be part of this wonderful world-class institution.”

Martin Griffiths, Consultant Vascular and Trauma Surgeon and Lead for Trauma Surgery at Barts Health NHS Trust added: "It is an honour to represent the NHS and my colleagues at Westminster Abbey, reflecting on the amazing care provided across the country.

"I am privileged to provide world-renowned care alongside incredible colleagues; from cradling people at their most vulnerable to sharing the joy of whole families for those who we are delighted to help.”

Celebrations for the NHS milestone birthday are taking place across our hospitals and up and down the country this week, recognising the achievements of the NHS over the last seven decades.  

Inpatients will be treated to meals that reflect each decade of the NHS; from beef in gravy and tapioca pudding to more modern dishes including chocolate fudge cake and Chinese pork and vegetables.

Sir Malcolm Grant, NHS England chairman, said: “The NHS’s 1.5m staff work hard every day to keep the people of this country well and they deserve to be celebrated. We want to say a huge thank you for all the hard work and extra effort our staff have contributed over the last 70 years – without you we wouldn’t be the world class service we are today.”

Photo coutesy of Picture Partnership.

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