The following is a personal message from NHS Business Services Authority Chief Executive Michael Brodie, shared internally with all NHSBSA staff.
What do Prince Charles, Grace Jones, Samuel L Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Alice Cooper, Donna Summer and Andrew Lloyd Webber all have in common? They were born in 1948, the same year that the National Health Service, our greatest institution, was born.
When creating the NHS, 72 years ago on 5 July, Nye Bevan said: “Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community”. And ever since, an NHS – free at the point of use – has been the cornerstone of our society.
We at the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) have the privilege of being the custodians of one small aspect of our NHS. We are the expert delivery organisation relied upon by the NHS and others to provide a range of complex and essential high-volume business services to support the day to day smooth running of the NHS. We provide a platform for at scale, national payments for primary care services to pharmacists and dentists. We support the NHS People Plan providing employment, HR and payroll platforms, as well as providing financial support to NHS students and running the NHS Pension Scheme. And, crucially, we provide a range of services direct to the public to help citizens gain access to the healthcare and support with costs to which they are entitled. We have a duty to keep these services safe, develop them, improve them, and pass them on, where still needed, to future generations ensuring the NHS is still around in another 72 years. We are the NHS delivering for the NHS.
Why I love the NHS
I’ve talked previously about how the NHS gave me 15 more years with my Dad, after the skill, care and attention of our brilliant NHS colleagues saved his life on at least two occasions.
I’ve talked less about how the NHS has given me (nearly) 15 years so far of being a Dad. My son Jack was born in 2005 and after a difficult birth and a couple of days in hospital, we were delighted to get him home. However, just two days later we were back in hospital for what would perhaps be the most traumatic and frightening three days of my life. For those three days Katherine and I lived in the Special Care Baby Unit at Wansbeck Hospital, as Jack battled against severe jaundice. For that 72 hours it was touch and go and we watched helplessly as he lay in an incubator and was gradually nursed back to health. Yet again we owe so much to the compassion and expertise of the NHS and its people.
I’m sure you all have your own personal stories as to why the NHS matters to you and your pride in being able to support it, so I would invite you all to join the NHS’s birthday celebrations on Sunday 5 July at 5pm with the loudest clap for your colleagues both here at the NHSBSA and in our hospitals, primary care, and elsewhere. I will be thinking of and thanking those nurses, midwives, and doctors who saved Jack’s life alongside thanking all of you, whose work in the background allows those in the foreground to perform their magic.
No Health service, not even the NHS, could have coped alone with this coronavirus pandemic. From bus drivers and teachers to care staff and food retailers and, of course, the public who took action to stay home to stop infection spreading, everyone played their part.