The British National Health Service is celebrating its sixty third year and it has come as a timely reminder to me of just how thankful I am for its very existence. There are many calls from many quarters demanding improvements within the health service which is only natural, given the sheer scale of the beast and the demands placed upon it. We are all too familiar with most of the problems: nurses pay and conditions, waiting times and MRSA to name but three. Yet, on a scale of one to ten, I have no reservation about giving the NHS a resounding ten plus. There are many discussions to be had about the comparisons with health provision in other parts of the world or how a national body like the NHS might work alongside the private sector, or even how one families or individuals experience might compare with another. I believe that the conception and implementation of our NHS was a stroke of genius in the modern world which has worked tirelessly and continually for the benefit of us all. An institution that has existed throughout my entire life. A genuine example of a work for the common good and still the envy of most western equivalents. I can only pay tribute to my own local hospitals, the Kettering General Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital on Kettering’s London Road, the former Rockingham Road Convalescent Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital in Market Harborough, for everything they have been to me and my family over the years. The National Health Service has saved my life twice. It has cared for my mum, dad, grandma and my mother in law. It was the NHS and its remarkable aftercare and counselling services that saw me through the death of my wife, and, apart from paying for the odd prescription here and there, no one has ever asked for so much as a credit card or blue cross credentials. OK, so the walls could do with a ‘lick’ of paint here and there and, OK, the nurses can’t always have the bedside manner of a Florence Nightingale. When all said and done, should I at some future date find myself in need of medical attention then I have no fear at all that the modern NHS will take care of everything. So, without exaggeration, I say thank you to all of the doctors, junior doctors, surgeons, ambulance drivers, paramedics, specialists, nurses, cleaners, GP’s, dentists, physiotherapists, anaesthetists, tea ladies, newsagents, hospital radio staff, management, administrators, chaplains, and all the other people connected with or employed by the greatest health service on the planet Earth. Three cheers to you all and here’s to the next sixty three years of care, dedication and devotion. Where would we be without them or it!