Message by Labour Leader Keir Starmer on the 72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the NHS
The NHS is an incredible institution that I think everybody in Britain is really proud of. It’s quite personal for me, my mum was a nurse and a very proud nurse, she loved nursing. But she was also very ill. She got a very rare illness when she was 11, which is where the immune system turns on itself and she was advised that she wouldn’t walk after she was 20, she’d be in a wheelchair, she wouldn’t be able to have children and…and she was determined that that wouldn’t be the case.
The NHS, you know, was there for her as she got more and more ill. In her 20s, she had to have serious operations. She became even iller and the NHS which she’d served and loved as a nurse suddenly became, if you like, her lifeline. Many, many times, she got gravely ill and it was the NHS that she turned to. And I remember as a boy, a teenager, being in high dependency units, in intensive care units, with my mum, watching nurses and other support staff keep my mum alive and they did that on more than one occasion, it’s etched in my memory. And for them, it was just the day job, they were doing that every day.
And so it’s very personal and I’m very grateful to the NHS, and my mum was very grateful, she loved the NHS through the many decades that she absolutely depended on them.
My mum sadly passed away, but now my wife works in the NHS, so we’re still part of that family and I can see every day that in the NHS, people go to work not just because it’s a job, but with a deep, deep sense of public service and helping other people and it’s…it’s really profound and personal. And I’m very proud of the NHS as I know so many other people are.