Today many people will be marching to celebrate Nye Bevans legacy that came into the world 70 years ago on 5 July 1948, when he opened Park Hospital in Manchester at a time of rationing and shortages, when we were nearly bankrupt, a jewel that the war generation left us with, a proud legacy, for us to all to continue to share. It offered for the first time a free healthcare system for all, and has since played a vital role in caring for all aspects of our nations health. For the first-time doctors, nurses, opticians, dentists and pharmacists all worked under one organisation, free at the point of use, which has since played a vital role in caring for all aspects of our nations health, that has been the envy of the world, currently fiecely defended by people as their fundamental social right.
This right now in jeapordy at moment because the NHS is being transformed into a skeleton, for profit service, modelled on the US healthcare market,and as as a result of chronic underfunding, a massive expansion of the private sector into healthcare provision, and a demoralised, underpaid workforce have combined to put the NHS in grave danger and the result of of the privatisation policies of successive governments has put it constantly under threat.
But today is the perfect opportunity today to appreciate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, and acknowledge the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out. It wouldn’t be possible to run a 7-day NHS, caring for millions of people day-in-day-out without the hard work and dedication of its staff. Despite all the adversity that’s thrown at them: poor pay, bursary cuts, hospital parking fines and staff shortages to name a few; they continue to become stronger and relentlessly keep delivering fantastic healthcare to the nation .
The NHS here in Wales employs close to 72,000 staff which makes it Wales’ biggest employer. I can never forget the compassion they gave to my dear departed, my dad, who himself served for 30 years. the staff always managing to keep their spirits high, never once showing any dereliction of care, dedicated, compassionate people under increased pressure, some of whom are resorting to food banks to get by. As the Tory's and their rotten hearts seek to dismantle it, we should not forget Nye's words who said " It will last as long as their are folk with enough faith to fight for it."
We cannot reach the day again where people make a profit out of our sickness. On its birthday we should also join the call for fair pay for all NHS staff . We must not reach the day again where people make a profit out of our sickness . The NHS continues to be a shining example of how a caring society can create good and safe care, making such a great contribution towards social and health equality, remember we paid for it, so it is owned by us, it is our precious commodity our national treasure that must suvive, we must do all that it takes, to tear the vultures hands from it. We must continue to keep fighting for it, put people before profit, allow it to keep providing free and universal world-class care far into the future.
Tonight, some essential viewing, a film poem by Owen Sheers, with a great cast, including Michael Sheen