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Healthcare leaders pay tribute to 'the dedication and determination' of nurses on the NHS' 70th birthday

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1940s children vaccinated You've come a long way baby: the first generation of the NHS can expect to live 10 years longer

On the 70th anniversary of the NHS, healthcare leaders have been paying tribute to the hardworking staff who have helped tens of millions of patients since 1948

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) amongst others have praised the dedication of nursing staff during one of the NHS’ toughest times.

‘The NHS has been through many changes since its creation in 1948, but the dedication and determination of nursing staff is what endures,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN.‘It’s their passion for providing high-quality care to which the service owes much of its success and longevity.’

The NMC also paid tribute to the nursing staff, acknowledging their commitment to the service and, in particular, the patients they care for.

‘The NHS reaching its 70th birthday is testament to the efforts and determination of nurses, midwives and all the other professionals who provide round the clock care and dedication to patients and families,’ said Jackie Smith, NMC chief executive and registrar.

‘The NHS rightly has a special place in the hearts of the British public. From the moment we’re born and throughout our lives the NHS is there to provide the care we all rely on. All of us at the NMC look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries to come and we will continue to play our part in helping this national treasure and its employees continue to provide world class healthcare.’

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt took to Twitter to sing the praises of NHS staff.

‘Happy birthday NHS. The NHS was only the sixth universal health system globally but has come to symbolise one of the greatest advances of humanity: no matter who you are, rich or poor, young or old, in a civilised country you'll always be able to access good healthcare. Long may that continue,’ Mr Hunt tweeted.

‘On other days we can debate next steps and how we improve to get the best outcomes in Europe. But today we should stop and take note of the reason the NHS is still, despite all its challenges, our most popular national institution - which in two words is its people!’

Meanwhile NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens looked back to praise the progress the nation's health had made.

‘Today we’re marking the 70th birthday of the National Health Service. It’s a time for celebration looking back over seven decades when we’re all living a lot longer and healthier – more than 10 years extra,’ said Mr Stevens.

‘We’ve seen amazing medical advances, whether it’s organ transplantations or new cures for cancer or vaccines. But the reason why the Health Service does so well is frankly due to the brilliance of the staff.’

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