With the NHS turning 70, we need to celebrate that it’s still the best value health service in the world, with the best values.

I’ve worked for the NHS for 35 years, and for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), for 28 years.

I started with the Trust at Horsham Hospital in 1988, moved to Crawley Hospital in 1990, and then left the Trust in 1993 before re-joining in 1995 to work on the planning of Hove Polyclinic.

For me, the NHS is the most worthwhile area to work in as mental and physical health is so central to everyone’s wellbeing. It also represents how I feel society should function, caring for those who need support equally, and enabling access to services regardless of the ability to pay.

Our family has had excellent care from our GP and we have been lucky enough not to require hospital treatment, apart from a few visits to casualty when our son was a young active accident prone boy, when his treatment was prompt and very child friendly.

I have always felt supported by SCFT through the variety of ways it looks after staff welfare.  There are a whole range of policies to protect staff interests, training and development opportunities but most importantly a culture which values staff and their contribution. 

For decades, the NHS has been stating that resources need to be transferred from hospitals to community to prevent illness and avoid hospital admissions. In the last few years there’s been real progress with specialist community teams being formed in SCFT, and the future promises further development and new partnerships as the NHS seeks to transform itself, and respond to the pressures from an ageing population and limited funding.

There are so many clinicians and managers, who I respect, but I’ve seen many staff working with others to treat patients with care and respect, and that is what matters to me.

It is the popularity of the NHS which enables it to continue despite the pressures and shortcomings arising from years of financial restraint. If we lose sight of this and the NHS loses its popularity, then its future will be very uncertain.