The NHS was created on the 5th July 1948, an appropriate time to set off with this campaign’s first street action. We were out in the town centre of Eastbourne on three days in the run up to the 5th July. The campaign had a simple message – The NHS is not failing it is being failed, the only reason it is not failing is due to the hard work and dedication of NHS staff. We asked the public to sign a birthday card for the NHS and say thank you to it staff. All the birthday cards were delivered to the DGH on the NHS birthday.
We had a mixed reaction to the campaign from members of the public. I had been involved in a similar NHS birthday card campaign several years ago. There were definitely fewer people this time willing to sign a card. All the same, many people did sign and when I came to put cards into envelopes at home I saw that there were many with sentiments so beautiful that they brought a tear to my eye. Our population clearly still values the NHS.
It was also clear from the sentiments expressed that many people didn’t understand why our NHS is in crisis. There were many people who said that they felt the reason behind the NHS crisis lay in the fact our population has increased. Certainly we now need to care for an increasing elderly population and greater numbers of people of all ages. But that is far from being the whole story, and we need to remember that a larger population also has more people paying taxes to fund the NHS.
We delivered 244 birthday cards to Eastbourne DGH on the 5th July. Many of those cards were signed by more than one person. I would like to thank the people who helped me with this campaign, and for all the fabulous people I met and talked to during this campaign.