Celebrating our NHS at 75

The 75th anniversary of the NHS marks a huge milestone in the history of healthcare in the UK. All of us at some point in our lives will have benefitted from this important institution. Hear from FNF CEO Professor Greta Westwood on her reflections on the NHS, and also from Mandeep Lally,  graduate of one of our original NHS70 leadership programmes.

Greta Westwood

‘The NHS is special to FNF.  The majority of our scholars, leadership participants and FNF Academy members work in the NHS. 

I started my career in the NHS in 1978 and left nearly 40 years later to work in the charity sector.

Now, as the Chief Executive Officer of FNF, the NHS is still important to me as we continue to support more NHS nurses and midwives. Our inaugural leadership programmes, NHS70 and Windrush70 both marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS and Windrush. In that year nearly 300 nurses and midwives participated in these programmes and the impact on both their patients and their career continues today.’

Mandeep Lally, a participant in our FNF’s NHS70 programme, and now an FNF Scholar, shares her experience of the programme, and her reflections on the NHS in general:

‘The FNF NHS70 programme was a stepping stone for me towards my first role in leadership within the NHS, but it was also a big self-realisation of my potential and capabilities not just as a nurse but in a leadership role and how I could have an impact on quality improvement and change with a confident and positive voice in a healthcare setting. It was such an empowering programme, what I remember the most was meeting such wonderful nurses and midwives, and this experience opened up a network to others, who like myself, loved the NHS, were driven and wanted to help make a change but didn’t know how.

Mandeep and Greta NHS70 graduation event

With FNF I had the opportunities to develop leadership skills and strengthen my management skills. I gained confidence in myself, which then enabled me to drive a Quality Improvement project forward within the hospital trust I worked at.

I am proud of what I have been able to do while working for the NHS and my achievements.  I have had the opportunity to a write piece for ‘Evidence Based Nursing’ and am in the process of publishing an article for the work within NHS and positive impact on change. I am also working in the community with British Sikh Nurses helping south Asian communities and help bridge the gap with the communities and NHS, working with the resuscitation through charity work with the Resuscitation Council UK. As a Nurse lecturer I now have the privilege to share the opportunities I had with FNF, and my experiences working in the NHS with the future nursing workforce.

There are many positive points about the NHS that are unspoken for or unseen. One of those I love is, that no matter what is thrown our way, every NHS worker keeps providing a selfless service to anyone who ever comes through those doors. Whether that’s in the community or in a hospital, this NHS, is found only within our United Kingdom. The strength and resilience shown over the last few years following the pandemic, really opened my eyes and showed me how strong the NHS was and how committed everyone working with it was, to helping others. This is why I feel the NHS is and will always be the heart of our healthcare workforce.’

‘In the last five years the partnership FNF has had with the NHS has enabled thousands of nurses and midwives across the UK to be supported through our leadership development programmes. The Windrush 75 programme, for nurses and midwives from global majority backgrounds is now open for applications.

We have also partnered with the NHS to provide independent analysis of issues impacting on the nursing and midwifery professions. We use the experience and expertise of our alumni and membership network to generate evidence and commentary that will influence workforce-related policy development and policy implementation. Most recently we have provided evidence of the digital maturity of NHS provider organisers across England, through administering and analysing the Annual Digital Nursing Assessment. 

As we take time this month to celebrate the NHS and its nurses and midwives let us, and those committed to it, not forget that it’s workforce needs long-term financial support to enable it to recover and flourish for another 75 years.

I am proud of my NHS career. I am proud of the work FNF undertakes for NHS nurses and midwives everywhere, working together for patients. They provide NHS services based on clinical need, aspire to the highest standards of excellence and professionalism, and put the patient at the heart of everything they do.’  

Check out our socials to hear what our NHS member organisations are doing to mark the 75th anniversary, and take a minute to read this powerful poem written by Professor Gemma Stacey, FNF’s Deputy CEO, on the importance of the NHS.