Four East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) colleagues were recently part of a unique celebration to mark NHS75 at Westminster Abbey.

Head of Chaplaincy Andrew Horsfall, Consultant Stroke Nurse Sheeba Philip, Chief Pharmacist Neil Fletcher and Staff Nurse Natalie McDougal were the four colleagues honoured to be invited. They joined 1,500 NHS colleagues at the event, as well as some famous names and NHS Charities Together.

Below is a personal reflection from Andrew on his visit to the service at Westminster Abbey and what the NHS means to him...

When I first found out that I had been nominated to attend the NHS 75th Anniversary Service of the NHS I was surprised and also thrilled

I was involved locally in organising the 60th Anniversary Service, but to be asked to attend this special 75th one in Westminster Abbey, was an honour and delight.

The 75th anniversary of the NHS has given us a chance to reflect on the past, look ahead to the future, and shine a spotlight on our incredible ELHT family and the wonderful work they do every day for our patients, their relatives, and carers.

As I waited in the queueAH.jpg and after the service as everyone mingled and chatted, it was amazing to meet so many different NHS staff from around the country and to share in the immense pride we all feel in working for the organisation that impacts our population in such a profound way. To share the occasion with many nationalities and such diverse and wonderful people from around the world who make up the NHS workforce, was just remarkable.

Many people say that it is the NHS that makes them feel most proud to be British and I certainly felt that on Wednesday, 5 July in London.

The NHS remains one of our most precious national assets. It is built on the effort, skill, and commitment of its staff, the support of patients and service users, and strong relationships with the communities it serves. 

For me, this 75th birthday gives us another opportunity to take the time to reflect on our achievements as a Trust – and the difference that we make to the lives of so many.

It was an absolute honour for me to sit alongside many hundreds of NHS staff in Westminster Abbey who give the absolute best of themselves day in and day out to improve the lives of our population.

The service was very poignant and moving, hearing personal testimony of working in our beloved health service. It was an occasion to savour and to reflect on decades of service and success as well as to acknowledge the enormous challenges of the present and look forward to the opportunities of the future, to build a service that is safe, personal, and effective for all those who come to us for care.

For me, the NHS remains the embodiment of compassion, care, and resilience. We have witnessed so much in the past 75 years and especially these last 3 years of the Covid pandemic. We must learn the lessons of the past, look out for each other, see how far we have come in the developments in the service we offer and build for the future.

None of this would have been possible without the skill and determination of our NHS family, who give everything of themselves every shift and then turn up to do it all again the next day.

Thank you for nominating me to attend the Anniversary Service it was an absolute honour – here's to the next 75 years! There Is much to look forward to in ELHT.