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Jeremy Hunt urges NHS to channel spirit of founder Nye Bevan

The Health and Social Care Secretary urged a congregation at York Minster to ‘be bold and ambitious’ with the health service.

Jeremy Hunt has called on the NHS to be “bold and ambitious” during a service to mark its 70th anniversary.

Speaking at York Minster on Thursday evening, the Health and Social Care Secretary claimed that one of the central pillars of the service is the manner in which patients “from all backgrounds” are treated equally.

“That is why, in poll after poll, if you ask British people what makes them most proud to be British, they say it is the NHS,” he said.

Discussing the future, he said: “Of course, when you have a big birthday you look forward, as well as back.

“This is a good moment to ask ourselves, the staff of the NHS and the patients of the NHS, what we must do.

“I will say one thing. Nye Bevan was bold and ambitious in 1948.

“I think he would want us to be bold and ambitious today.”

He added that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, who were taken ill after being exposed to the chemical weapon Novichok are being given “the best possible care”.

Before Manchester, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grow up, but staying in hospital and seeing what the nurses do and how good they are, when I am older, I want to be a nurse Eve Senior, survivor of the Manchester Arena attack

During the 90-minute ceremony, a 15-year-old girl who survived the Manchester Arena terror attack told how the experience of being treated by NHS staff has inspired her to try to become a burns nurse.

Eve Senior was left with 18 shrapnel wounds, burns and a severed nerve in her leg when she was caught up in the bombing as she left Ariana Grande’s concert in May last year.

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Singer and TV presenter Linda Nolan introduces Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Staff Choir (Danny Lawson/PA)

She said: “Before Manchester, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grow up, but staying in hospital and seeing what the nurses do and how good they are, when I am older, I want to be a nurse.”

The teenager said that the staff who treated her at the Manchester Children’s Hospital over the course of nearly a year can “now be classed as friends”.

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Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS marking the 70th anniversary of the service (Danny Lawson/PA)

She was given a standing ovation by an audience of health leaders and NHS staff past and present following her speech.

Ian Dalton, the chief executive of NHS Improvement, claimed that the health service needs to “continue to live up to the founding values on which it was built.”

Prior to the event, which was hosted by cancer sufferer Linda Nolan, Sir Malcolm Grant told Press Association how the NHS “touches the lives of people in a way that no other social institution does.”

Mr Grant, the chair of NHS England, also praised the “compassion and kindness” of the organisation’s staff.

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