I hope you can all take a moment to have a break and reflect on the part you play in the service we are celebrating today.
The NHS is a team of 1.5 million, a system, in which we all play an important part. To do our jobs well – whoever we are, and particularly if we have a leadership role – we are each dependent on a network of others in hundreds of different roles. Every member of the NHS team is as vital as the next. It is this co-operative, this family, that is part of what makes working in the NHS so special.
And the NHS is a team on which we all depend. It is a team that responds when we need them most. A team that arrives in an ambulance when we are scared and ill. A team that is waiting at the doors of the ED. A team that takes us into theatre, skilled and ready for surgery. A team that cares for us on a ward. A team that brings life into the world. A team that holds us close at the end; teams in the community, in our homes, that look after our mental wellbeing as well as our physical health.
The NHS is extraordinary in millions of ways every day that are perfectly ordinary for the people working within it.
Today babies will be born to joy and families completed. Beloved relatives and friends will take their last breaths and families changed forever. People will get news that will make some cry with happiness and some in despair.
Millions of cups of tea will be made. Millions of hands held and kind words given. Years of training will be put into practice to save life and sustain life – our lives.
Today is a day for gratitude and celebration of all that the NHS can and does do. And throughout it, the NHS will continue to work as it does every day and night, for every one of us who needs it. And tomorrow, it will do the same.
So take a minute today and remember the part you play in this system which depends on all of us, and on which we all depend.
And thank you.
Professor Joe Harrison