Residents, community campaigners and hospital workers came together today at the War Memorial opposite Lewisham Hospital to celebrate 65 years of the National Health Service.
The celebration party also rallied supporters of the on-going campaign to stop cuts and downgrading of services at Lewisham Hospital.
“This is a fantastic day and a statement of our determination to have many more birthdays to celebrate the NHS,” said Dr. Louise Irvine, chair of Save Lewisham Hospital campaign group and a Deptford GP.
“The NHS is a great institution and something people rely on all the time. Today’s party is a wonderful way to celebrate it,” said Vicky Foxcroft, chair of Lewisham Labour Group.
The 65th anniversary celebration in Lewisham is part of a nationwide campaign led by the major health sector union, UNITE.
Phil Rose, UNITE Health Campaign Office London and Neasden, said: “We don’t believe that health services need to be cut. We hope people realise the NHS is their health service.”
Lewisham resident John Fisher, 72, a retired engineer said: “I’m a great believer in the NHS. It has served us well,” before adding, “My youngest granddaughter was born in Lewisham Hospital.”
“I’m here today to join in the celebration of the NHS and also to show my support of the campaign against cuts and privatisation,” said Helen Mercer, 58, a lecturer and Lewisham resident.
The National Health Service was established in 1948 following the passing of the National Health Service Act in 1946.