The Health Service’s seventieth birthday will be marked on 5 July by health workers in public service union UNISON with events across Cornwall.
UNISON at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske will invite staff and the public to sign a giant birthday card for the NHS. A photo with 70 people each holding up a “candle” for the NHS will take place just after 12:30 at the Tower Block entrance to the hospital.
Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust managers will also join staff for the “Big Birthday Photo” and sing “Happy Birthday” to this great national institution.
Meanwhile at West Cornwall Hospital UNISON stewards will travel around the wards giving out NHS birthday themed cakes with their own large birthday card.
The union is holding events across the country with a theme of “celebrate, defend” for the “crucial moment” in the NHS’ history. A lack of investment has worsened waiting times for patients. RCHT saw less than two thirds (64.1%) of A&E patients within the target of four hours, missing its 95% target. Over one in five (21.5%) patients waited longer than the target eighteen weeks from referral to treatment for other conditions.
UNISON organiser in Cornwall Simon Wintle said:
“The NHS is the best thing about this country. It looks after everyone, throughout their lives, no matter their financial means. That’s worth celebrating but it’s also worth defending. Too many people now see long queues ahead of them for routine operations, appointments and checkups.
“In some cases even emergency care is overwhelmed by high demand but not enough investment. Staff are run off their feet. After years of falling real wages and rocketing workloads it’s no wonder the NHS is struggling to recruit new staff.
“In Cornwall we want to say a special happy birthday to the NHS and celebrate celebrate the work staff do every day – from delivering babies to helping the very old or unwell live with dignity. But we also need to recognise that the NHS won’t last the next seventy years unless it’s properly funded and publicly run.”
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