Siobhan Melia

Chief Executive

The NHS means free care for all. It makes me feel proud to be part of it, and privileged to work with so many compassionate colleagues.

The NHS touches us all one way or another. It has given me an amazing career, full of opportunity, diversity and development – which has maintained by levels of motivation and enthusiasm throughout. Ultimately my NHS career has helped to create personal happiness and security.

When people ask me what makes SCFT so special I always reply, ‘our people’. I see many examples of how our teams embody our values every day, and it makes me feel so proud.

We need to continue to be the best we can be, improving outcomes for patients and the people that we care for, and working in partnership across organisational boundaries.

I am optimistic about the future. It is likely to mean developing new out of hospital care models to ensure the NHS copes with rising demands of an ageing population, and those new models will need to integrate health and care around the needs of local populations. We are well placed to play a leading role in these developments.

My NHS hero is the receptionist at the health centre when I started as a newly qualified podiatrist in my first NHS job. I remember thinking that Julie knew everything! I needed her advice and guidance, especially when dealing with aggressive patients (which wasn’t covered in my degree course).

The NHS is a unique institution. It delivers some of the best health outcomes in the world but often gets portrayed negatively in parts of the media.

We should use the 70th birthday to celebrate all that is great about the NHS, and in doing so say thank you to the 1.5 million staff that work across the NHS in the UK.

In celebrating NHS70, I hope that we can all find the time to feel proud that we are part of something so unique.