On Sunday, July 5, the NHS is marking 72 years since it began.
During the last few months, it has been through the greatest test in its lifetime. And it will continue to deal with the many challenges brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for the foreseeable future.
At The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT), the teams have responded with extraordinary commitment and dedication to support its patients. The 72nd birthday of the NHS is now an opportunity to reflect on the unprecedented challenges faced over the last few months and to say thank you to every member of staff.
PAHT people have been invited to take part in a socially distanced round of applause outside of the hospital on Sunday evening, to say thank you to the community for their support and to recognise each other’s contributions, from colleagues to partner organisations and other key workers.
The 72nd anniversary of the NHS is also a poignant time to remember the loved ones and friends who have passed away.
Additionally, the anniversary affords the opportunity to look back to the developments over the years. PAHT has changed significantly since its official opening ceremony on 27 April 1965, attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy. It has since seen the implementation of many procedures and treatments that are now a mainstay of the work of a modern acute hospital. This includes computerised tomography (CT) scanners, which were first used in the UK in 1972.
The hospital was established as The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in April 1995, providing services at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, the Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford, and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping. In the years since the hospital first opened, it has undergone modernisation and development, including many additions.
Following the announcement from the Prime Minister in September 2019 of the funding for a new hospital in Harlow, the planning for this and the development of the detailed business cases continues to proceed at pace. PAHT is looking ahead to a brand new hospital to support its local population into the future and create a fantastic place to work for its people.
Lance McCarthy, chief executive of The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The anniversary of the NHS is this year, a time for the commendation of our amazing people, rather than our usual celebrations. It is also a time for commemoration of the loved ones and friends who our people – and the nation as a whole - have lost to coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been an extremely difficult period and we want to ensure that we say thank you to every member of our staff for their contributions.”