A York MP has wished the NHS a Happy Birthday.

Today (July 4) marks 75 years since the NHS was introduced by the Labour Government in 1948.

Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central, marked the milestone by handing a birthday card to bosses at York Hospital and gave thanks to the hospital’s staff for their hard work and care.

Ms Maskell, who worked as a physiotherapist for 20 years in the NHS, said: “I am sure everyone in York will want to join me to say a massive thank you for the incredible service the NHS staff have given over the last 75 years.”

York Press: Rachael Maskell, Labour MP for York CentralRachael Maskell, Labour MP for York Central (Image: Supplied)

The MP gave specific praise for the NHS during the Covid pandemic, when she said staff faced the “most unimaginable difficulties” and put their own lives on the line to save others.

“The NHS treats over a million people a day in England, touching all our lives,” said Ms Maskell.

“Everyone is treated the same and given the help they need regardless of their ability to pay.

"The dedicated professionalism, love and care of staff is a testimony to the core values of the NHS.” 

Alongside the celebrations, the MP raised concern over the NHS’ “current fragility”.

“The challenges the NHS currently faces are far greater than anything we have seen over the last 20 years, with financial pressures mounting and patients waiting far longer to access care,” she said. 

“As a nation, it’s important that we grasp the opportunity today to refocus on the future of the NHS and to ensure it has the resources to advance medical care with the staffing and resources to provide everyone the best possible health outcomes.

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“I have spent a lifetime of work defending NHS services from cuts and will continue to speak out and campaign in Parliament for high quality healthcare accessible to all. 

“Today we must celebrate the NHS and its outstanding staff and hold the words of its founder, Nye Bevan, from that 1945 Government, who said, ‘The NHS will last as long as there are folk with the faith left to fight for it.’

“As your MP I am committed to fight for our NHS and for you.” 

As reported by the Press, the NHS’ birthday celebrations will see York Hospital lit up blue for a full week from today.

York Press: York Hospital will light up blue to wish the NHS Happy BirthdayYork Hospital will light up blue to wish the NHS Happy Birthday (Image: Supplied)

Simon Morritt, chief executive of York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, hailed the NHS as a “point of pride” for many people, including the health service’s staff and those who have received its treatment.

“Lighting up our hospital gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives and to thank staff and volunteers working within our hospitals and out in the community for their hard work, compassion and dedication to our patients,” he said.