NHS at 70: Northern Ireland celebrates birthday of national institution
Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody was among the many thousands - if not millions - to sing the praises of the NHS on its 70th birthday.
Events were held across the UK on Thursday to mark the moment the then health minister Aneurin Bevan received the keys of Trafford's Park Hospital (Now Trafford General Hospital) near Manchester from the local council to mark the beginning of the National Health Service on July 5, 1948.
Prime Minister Theresa May said it was a "very special birthday for a very special institution".
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And celebrations were held in Northern Ireland and many major hospitals and treatment centres.
At the South West Acute Hospital in Fermanagh patients got a surprise when singer Nathan Carter called in for a visit to help with the celebrations.
And thousands took to Twitter to share memories of how the service had helped them over the years.
Have you got a memory to share of how the NHS helped you? Send your story plus a picture and all your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Snow Patrol's Gary Lighbody described how he was laughing with his dad in the park just this week.
"That wouldn’t of happened without you," he tweeted.
"You saved my dad’s life."
"Hard to put into words what that means to me so I’ll just say thank you .... from the bottom of my heart thank you."
Snow Patrol's latest album includes the song Soon, about Lighbody's 80-year-old father's battle with dementia.
Alliance leader Naomi Long how her own life had "quite literally" been saved since a cancer diagnosis five years ago.
"We all owe the NHS a huge debt of gratitude.
"We can repay it by fighting to maintain the service and supporting staff who make it work," she said.
"When a superhero is born, they work for the NHS," said Stephen Nolan.
"What you do is incredible and we literally couldn’t live without you."
James Brokenshire - who was forced to stand down as Northern Ireland Secretary to have lung cancer surgery, said seeing it "up close and personal brings home how incredible it is and just how special the people are who work within it."
Happy 70th birthday NHS! You saved my dad’s life 2 years ago. I was sitting in the park laughing with my dad this week. That wouldn’t of happened without you. Hard to put into words what that means to me so I’ll just say thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you. #NHS70— gary lightbody (@garysnowpatrol) July 5, 2018
When a superhero is born , they work for the NHS when they grow up.— Stephen Nolan (@StephenNolan) July 5, 2018
Thank you to the NHS staff in Northern Ireland .
What you do is incredible and we literally couldn’t live without you .#NHS70
Since I was diagnosed 5 years ago with skin cancer, the surgery & aftercare I received, quite literally, saved my life.— Naomi Long MLA (@naomi_long) July 5, 2018
We all owe the NHS a huge debt of gratitude. We can repay it by fighting to maintain the service and supporting staff who make it work.
Happy Birthday #NHS70
"For 70 years it has been a great British achievement of which we can all be proud. In the years to come I want to make it greater still." - PM @Theresa_May speaks at the #NHS70 reception at Downing Street pic.twitter.com/RdSL82glAN— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 5, 2018
Happy 70th Birthday to our amazing NHS. Quite literally saved my life after my lung cancer surgery earlier this year. Seeing it ‘up close & personal’ brings home how incredible it is and just how special the people are who work within it. #NHS70 pic.twitter.com/5xSxzSvDDA— James Brokenshire (@JBrokenshire) July 5, 2018
Happy 70th NHS. A national treasure, not without its challenges, but continues to offer universal care free at the point of service. My family know first hand the excellent service NHS staff provide & will be ever thankful for their assistance in our own time of need.— Diane Dodds MEP (@DianeDoddsMEP) July 5, 2018
Thank you to all of our staff for the outstanding contribution you make. Your efforts on behalf of those who need our help the most are greatly appreciated. All of you, regardless of role, help to save lives every day - for that, you should feel extremely proud #nhs70 #teamnshct pic.twitter.com/eEdiKSpQAk— Northern Trust (@NHSCTrust) July 5, 2018
Great celebrations had across our acute and community services today! Great to see the service users also marking the occassion. Hope everyone enjoyed the celebrations 🎉 #NHS70 #HSC70 #HappyBirthdayNHS View all photos here: https://t.co/kAkVsNzdfT pic.twitter.com/CKDUeikDK9— South Eastern Trust (@setrust) July 5, 2018
NHS70: Celebrating 70 years of the NHS. We thank and recognise and thank our extraordinary staff (past and present) – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out. pic.twitter.com/6hY4r8W5OG— Southern Trust (@SouthernHSCT) July 5, 2018
“Seeing it in action today really brings home just how wonderful everybody working in the #NHS is.”— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) July 5, 2018
- SofS Karen Bradley MP on her visit to Regional Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.#NHS70@publichealthni @PatientClient @BelfastTrust @HSCBoard @FriendsCCNI @healthdpt pic.twitter.com/jIrxMuU1Mz
In a day of celebration a special service was held at Westminster Abbey - along with thousands of others right across the country - while scores of buildings across the UK will be lit in the traditional blue of the NHS."
In Northern Ireland the man in charge of the local health service, civil servant Richard Pengelly, described the anniversary as a "proud day" for all those that work in the health service.
He said he remained confident of the future of the NHS but that it was in need of reform including providing more care in people's homes and "reform" of hospitals and the services they provide.
He said workers should take heart from the fact the NHS has faced challenges from the start when it was established "amid the rubble of a world war".
"Today's challenges, however difficult, are not beyond us," he said. "Certainly not with the wonderful staff, past and present, on which the service is built.
"So let's look to the future positively, knowing that through transformation we can put strong foundations in place for decades to come."
Belfast Telegraph Digital