Celebration sparks call to protect NHS future

By Ian Dipple Friday 11 July 2014 Updated: 11/07 09:07

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Buy photos » Coun Natalie Brookes, Wendy Johnson, Rachel Hubball, Jaine Crawford, Maureen Rowley and Rebecca Blake join Dr Gilly Cooper, Linda Cook and Louise Atkinson (middle) in celebrating 66 years of the NHS with Dr Shaun Pike (front). Picture by Ian Dipple (s).

A RALLYING cry to the public to fight to defend the NHS has been issued as residents gathered to celebrate the 66th anniversary of its foundation.

Redditch GP Dr Gilly Cooper hosted a birthday party to mark the occasion at Elgar House Surgery in Church Road on Saturday (July 5).

Special cakes were made for the event and patients, health workers and residents were invited to share their stories about what the NHS meant to them and how it had successfully cared for them or their family.

The day was inspired by the Big Up the NHS campaign, started by Birmingham physician Dr Steve Smith on social media, to encourage people to celebrate the good things about the service.

Among those present was Terry Tracey who worked in the NHS for 40 years and was a nurse at both Smallwood Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital.

She started her training in Barnsley in 1952, just four years after the creation of the NHS.

“It must be wonderful to have suddenly woke up and thought I don’t have to worry about taking Jimmy to the doctor,” she said.

“It was very hard work and very disciplined nursing in those days but we did have great fun as well.

“What makes it special is anybody who needs it gets it. I’m totally against any privatisation but the NHS is creeping that way.

We’ll have a very hard fight to protect it.”

Dr Cooper told the Standard even though the system was under immense pressure, celebrating the success of the NHS was one way the public could help preserve it.

“The NHS is the best thing we have got in Britain but it is under threat and one thing we can do is celebrate what’s good about it so maybe when politicians and others are making decisions they can remember that,” she said.

“People, not just with the health service but generally, focus on what went badly and forget the good things so it’s important to rebalance that by focusing on what went well.

“It may not survive in its present form but I hope it isn’t totally privatised and it’s there for our children. It’s an incredible social enterprise to have something where people never have to worry about what they pay for their healthcare, I don’t know anywhere else it’s quite like that, and it needs to be replicated across the world and improved.

“It’s part of what knits the whole country together, looking after those who are less able to look after themselves.”

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