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Bishop’s tribute to the work of NHS staff on its 70th anniversary

The Bishop of Carlisle has paid tribute to the work of NHS staff across the country, as the organization marks its 70th anniversary today.

The Rt Rev’d James Newcome – the Church of England’s lead bishop for health and social care – was in London for a special service in Westminster Abbey, marking the milestone birthday.

Among those also present was HRH The Countess of Wessex, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, and Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

Bishop James said: “It’s a tremendous privilege and pleasure for me to wish the NHS a very happy birthday on its 70th anniversary. We are all conscious of the wonderful work which has gone on over those seven decades.

“The NHS is rated as one of the best health services in the world and those of us who have received treatment over the years know of the marvellous service that is provided.

“This is a day for celebration but it also marks an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the 1.4 million people who work so tirelessly for the NHS. ‘Thank you’ for the wonderful work you are involved in.”

Bishop James, who speaks on health care issues in the House of Lords, has also taken the opportunity to stress the need for a renewed focus on the NHS’s long-term sustainability.

This afternoon he spoke in a Parliamentary debate tabled by Lord Darzi of Denham noting the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, and the case for integration of health, mental health, social and community care to equip the National Health Service for the next 70 years.

Bishop James previously sat on a Parliamentary Select Committee which drew together a 2017 report identifying what are considered key priorities to ensure the NHS’s sustainability.

He added: “This is not only a question of having enough money; another important issue is the integration of health, social care and public health, with particular focus on the need to look at the slightly unequal outcomes currently for those people experiencing mental health problems and those without.

“A further finding of the Select Committee was that, as citizens of this country, we need to be taking more responsibility for our own health. This relates to all kinds of issues – obesity, smoking, alcohol – all of which cost the nation vast sums each year.

“It is up to us to take responsibility for our own bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and to use them wisely and well, in ways which make the National Health Service a wellness service, not just a sickness service.”

Meanwhile a motion tabled by the Diocese of Carlisle’s Synod on the long-term sustainability of the NHS will be debated on Monday 9 July at General Synod – the national assembly of the Church of England.

Synod members will be asked to commend the House of Lords Select Committee report as well as calling on the government to look at problems arising from urban care models being used in a rural context, to consider whether there’s appropriate funding for social care and whether enough resources are in place to attract high quality health professionals to positions outside large urban areas.

For more visit the Diocese of Carlisle's YouTube Channel.


For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at


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