NHS Birthday: Over 200 Sunderland residents sign giant card wishing the NHS a happy 74th birthday

A giant birthday card has been delivered to Sunderland Royal Hospital with over 200 messages of thanks from Wearside residents.

The card was delivered today (July 5) to mark the 74th birthday of the NHS which was formed in 1948 to ensure healthcare was accessible to all and not just the wealthy.

The birth of the NHS created the the world’s first health service which aimed to provide universal, comprehensive and free health care.

The card was delivered to South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Officer, Ken Bremner, by members of the Keep Our NHS Public Group (KONP) who were keen to show their appreciation for the “hard work carried out by its dedicated staff”.

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The group spent this weekend in Sunderland city centre highlighting the NHS’s upcoming birthday and local residents were only too keen to sign the card and offer messages of support and gratitude.

KNOP secretary Laura Murrell said: “Within a couple of hours with had over 200 signatures. Everyone will either have had or know someone who has had experience of being cared for by the NHS.

"Everyone who signed the card wanted to praise the tremendous efforts of all those who work for the NHS. We wanted to deliver this card to show how proud we are of the NHS and its values and to show our gratitude.

NHS chief executive Ken Bremner receives NHS 74th birthday card from Keep Our NHS Public secretary Laura Murrell and former Sunderland GP Pam Wortley.

"It was an opportunity to say thank you."

Laura feels the pandemic has raised people’s appreciation of the NHS even more with the selfless efforts of doctors and nurses on the Covid front-line never more apparent.

The height of the pandemic saw messages of support displayed on people’s houses, roads and car parks as well as the weekly clap for your carers initiative.

NHS Chief Executive Ken Bremner looks at some of the comments in the NHS's 74th birthday card.

Laura said: “I think the pandemic really highlighted the importance of the NHS, its value and the fact we should never take it for granted. The pandemic brought into focus how much we need the NHS and raised awareness of just how valuable it is to everyone.”

The NHS was launched in 1948 by the then Labour Government and was led by the Minster for Health, Aneurin Bevan.

Some of the messages of support and thanks on the birthday card.