Staff attend special service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate NHS 75

Date: 06 July 2023

NHS 75 Westminster Abbey service 5 July 2023

Five Medway NHS Foundation Trust staff members attended a special service held at Westminster Abbey yesterday (Wednesday 5 July) to celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday.

Suzanne Thake, Lead Practice Development Nurse; Kim Umali, Matron for Specialist Medicine; Shear Mohammed, Lead Pharmacist; Jacqueline Hammond, SMART Clinical Nurse Lead for the Surgical Medical Acute Recovery Team (SMART) and vascular access service, and Debbie Raher, Senior Sister, were selected by the Trust to attend the event as they were all winners of different categories in the Trust’s Medway Annual Staff Awards 2022.

Jackie said: “After winning the Hospital Hero award, being asked to join in with the celebrations at Westminster Abbey to mark the NHS’s 75th anniversary was just the icing on the cake.”

Suzanne said: “It was an incredible honour to be chosen to represent the Trust at such an important event. I am very grateful for the opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon all the good that is done and the progress that has been made in the NHS over the years, particularly during Covid.”

Kim said: “I feel honoured and privileged to be recognised with this nomination in one of the most important milestones of the NHS.”

Shear said: “It was an honour to celebrate the NHS 75th anniversary at Westminster Abbey and to represent Medway NHS Foundation Trust.”

Debbie said: “After winning a staff award earlier this year I didn’t think anything could top my last year in the NHS before I retire next year. It was such an honour to attend the service. I have seen many changes in the NHS since I joined it 40 years ago - many challenges, changes in practice, but there are many positives also.”

Around 1,500 NHS staff, as well as some famous names and NHS Charities Together attended the service in the Abbey which also included an address by NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard.

May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, carried the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession. May received the medal from Queen Elizabeth II, along with NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard and representatives from the other UK health services at Windsor Castle in July 2022.

She was joined by 17-year-old Kyle Dean-Curtis, St John Ambulance cadet of the year, who wants to work in the NHS, and 91-year-old Enid Richmond, who was one of the first people to work in the NHS as a junior clerical worker and whose sister still volunteers in the health service.

Prayers were read by Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay, Chief Nurse Dame Ruth May, NHS National Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer Prof Suzanne Rastick OBE, and Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic who was first on the scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack and who holds the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service.

Testimonies were given by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OM - the UK’s first sickle cell nurse, academic, and author;  Ellie Orton, Chief Executive, NHS Charities Together; and Dr Martin English and Dr Michael Griksaitis, NHS consultants, who jointly led a team who extracted 21 Ukrainian children with cancer over to the UK from Poland in March 2022, following the Russian invasion.

  • Summary:

    Five Medway NHS Foundation Trust staff members attended a special service held at Westminster Abbey yesterday (Wednesday 5 July) to celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday.