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Happy Birthday!

Labour’s MPs for Bristol have joined celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service.  The service was launched on 5 July 1948, replacing a system of insurance which left the most vulnerable – particularly the poor, and women and children, facing big bills for medical care. 
Roger Berry was born on July 4 1948, a day before the creation of the new service.  The Kingswood MP commented: “My birth wasn’t registered until July 9, so I suppose I am technically an NHS baby!  The advances that the NHS has seen in my life are quite phenomenal.  At the start of the NHS, for example, an operation to remove a cataract was a serious affair, with the patient’s head supported    by sandbags for a week.  Now, patients are generally home on the same day as their operation.”

Bristol South MP and Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

“When I was first elected as an MP in 1987, my post-bag was full of letters of complaints from people who had waited years for major operations.  That simply doesn’t happen now.  We’ve cut waiting lists by trebling investment in the NHS – which means 32,000 more doctors and 85,000 more nurses.  Locally, of course, we’re closer than ever to our South Bristol Hospital, with work scheduled to get underway later in the year.  But, of course, there’s still more to do.  Our NHS needs to evolve and improve, and we want to listen to patients and staff on how best to do this.  We need to make sure that people receive important drugs as quickly as possible, and we need to continue working hard to ensure our hospitals are clean.  Lord Darzi’s Review, and proposals for the NHS Constitution, will provide measures to ensure the continued improvement of the NHS.”  

Kerry McCarthy, Labour’s MP for Bristol East added:

“Virtually all of us use the NHS, and people’s own experience of their treatment is generally very good and often excellent.  My experiences, and those of my family and my friends, is that the care provided by staff is second to none.  The NHS is one of the biggest employers in the world, with a million staff dedicated to keeping us well, making us better when they can, and providing palliative care when we cannot fully recover.  At this time, when we are celebrating the foundation of our health service, I know that people will take a moment to think of those staff who have cared for them.”
MP for Bristol North West Doug Naysmith concluded:

“The creation of the NHS is one of Labour’s proudest achievements.  In common with other seminal moves in British politics – like the minimum wage – it was opposed by other political parties, but it is now enshrined in the fabric of our nation.  Delivery of first-class health care free at the point of use is one of our most fundamental rights.  Indeed, as Labour MPs, honouring the pledge to universal healthcare is one of our central principles.”

[4 July 2008]

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