The Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health have paid tribute to the tireless hard work and dedication of doctors and nurses who have transformed millions of lives since the NHS was created 63 years ago.
Prime Minister David Cameron said,
'For 63 years the NHS has stood for fairness and compassion. It's been a comfort to people through difficult times, a proud symbol of all that's great about our country, and a literal life-line for millions. NHS staff do an incredible job, from the doctors and nurses who save lives, to the health visitors who support families at home, to the porters and admin staff who keep the whole organisation working day-in, day-out.
'We can all be so proud that Britain's best-loved institution has been caring for people for more than six decades. But if we want the NHS to continue to be there for people in the decades to come, we need to modernise it.
'Because of what we're doing today, the NHS will continue to thrive tomorrow, it will continue to be free at the point of use, and our children and grandchildren will be able to rely on it - just as we have done.'
Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley added,
'I was lucky enough to be born into a society with a National Health Service and I am committed to ensuring that it is protected for generations to come. Both as a patient and as Health Secretary I have seen the passion and dedication of staff across the NHS. I would like to join everyone else today in thanking them for their hard work as we celebrate the 63rd birthday of our National Health Service.
'It is this passion and dedication of NHS staff which we want to embrace and support through the NHS Leadership Academy. In Cambridge we have already seen huge improvements for people with diabetes thanks to frontline staff taking the lead and helping people manage their condition. By establishing the Leadership Academy today I want to help all doctors and nurses develop the leadership skills they need to drive a truly world-class NHS.
'Frontline NHS staff have shown they can work smarter, be more responsive and give patients better health outcomes. The challenge now is to make this the rule, not the exception.'