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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I wish to welcome a special guest who is observing our proceedings today: the President of the Cyprus House of Representatives. Madam President, you are most welcome.

I also wish to make a short statement. I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in celebrating the fact that today is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the NHS. A couple of days before it started, the Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, said in a message to the medical profession:

“On 5th July we start together, the new National Health Service. It has not had an altogether trouble-free gestation! There have been understandable anxieties, inevitable in so great and novel an undertaking... But the sooner we start, the sooner we can try together to see to these things and to secure the improvements we all want.”

It is fair to say that 75 years later, the NHS still faces challenges, but it is right that, today, we celebrate an institution that treats over 1 million people a day. In particular, I am sure Members across the House will want to join me in celebrating the staff of the NHS, past and present, across all our constituencies. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] To them, I say on behalf of the House: thank you for your outstanding contribution to the health and wellbeing of us all. Of course, the National Health Service Act 1946 is a reminder of the vital role of this House in creating and debating legislation as part of a democratic process, so I say to previous MPs: thank you for what you did. We will not forget.