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Four staff from NHS Coventry and Warwickshire ICB joined other NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities at a service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the NHS 75th birthday.

The service, held at 11am on Wednesday 5 July, included an address by NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard.

Guests in the Abbey included around 1,500 NHS staff, as well as some famous names and NHS Charities Together.

May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, carried the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession. May received the medal from Queen Elizabeth II, along with NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard and representatives from the other UK health services at Windsor Castle in July 2022.

She was joined by 17-year-old Kyle Dean-Curtis, St John Ambulance cadet of the year, who wants to work in the NHS, and 91-year-old Enid Richmond, who was one of the first people to work in the NHS as a junior clerical worker and whose sister still volunteers in the health service.

The members of staff who represented the ICB at the service were Samantha Checklin, Natalie Andreassen, Ikhlas Javad and Sharon Geaney.

Prayers were read by health and social care secretary Steve Barclay, chief nurse Dame Ruth May, NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis, chief allied health professions officer Prof Suzanne Rastick OBE, and Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic who was first on the scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack and who holds the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service.

Testimonies were given by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OM, the UK’s first sickle cell nurse, academic, and author, Ellie Orton, Chief Executive, NHS Charities Together and Dr Martin English and Dr Michael Griksaitis, NHS consultants who jointly led a team who extracted 21 Ukrainian children with cancer over to the UK from Poland in March 2022, following the Russian invasion.

Phil Johns, Chief Executive Officer of NHS Coventry and Warwickshire ICB, said:

“I’m so pleased that Coventry and Warwickshire ICB staff were able to attend the NHS 75th Birthday celebration service at Westminster Abbey. I know how proud ICB staff are to be part of the NHS and being at the service means so much to those who were chosen.

“The NHS is a national institution that has been there for people of all ages and backgrounds for 75 years. Over that time there have been a number of changes, but the core principle has always remained the same – providing high quality health and care for all.

“I feel privileged to be part of the NHS, and I am confident that we at Coventry and Warwickshire ICB can help to build on the legacy that has been forged by our fantastic health system over the past 75 years.”

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