Today (Monday, 5 July), the NHS is marking 73 years since it began.
The last year has been unprecedented as we worked together in the fight against COVID-19.
We have seen the NHS COVID-19 vaccine programme, the biggest in health service history, launched during the winter wave of COVID-19. The NHS made history by giving Maggie Keenan the first Pfizer vaccination in December. The programme has now delivered more than 63 million jabs, saving 14,000 lives and preventing 44,500 hospital admissions in England.
NHS staff who were on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19 will be at the heart of a special service of commemoration and thanksgiving to be held at St Paul’s Cathedral today (Monday 5 July), the anniversary of the health service’s foundation. The service follows national Thank You Day, organised by the Together Coalition, on 4 July.
The country will also join together in thanks at the NHS Big Tea today, where people will enjoy a tea break and donate to NHS Charities Together.
At PAHT, our teams have responded with extraordinary dedication to support our patients. The 73rd birthday of the NHS is now an opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced and to say thank you to every member of staff.
It is also a poignant time to remember the loved ones and friends who have passed away.
We will be holding a virtual event for staff with an opportunity to look back on developments over the years, with changes in technology and working practice. Additionally, the speakers will discuss their experiences and what PAHT means to them. Staff will also be focusing on this through special features and videos.
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 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 case continues to proceed at pace. We are looking ahead to a brand new hospital to support patients and local people into the future and create a fantastic place to work for its people.
Lance McCarthy, chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to marking the birthday of the NHS together. It is an opportunity to say thank you for the support we have given each other – and also a heartfelt thank you to our community for their kind words, gifts and donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last year has been extremely difficult – thank you to every one of our PAHT people for their commitment.”