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Tony Blair
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'Elizabeth Jenkins'

Assistant General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Nursing

Fifty years of the National Health Service is a real landmark in our history. The anniversary year is much more than just a birthday party - it is a chance for all of us to celebrate the tremendous achievements of the NHS.

Back in 1948, the prognosis for very sick patientís was poor. Medicine offered few solutions, so good nursing care was often a patientís best route to recovery. It might seem odd then, that as medical knowledge has expanded so quickly, the last 50 years have also been crucial for nursing. In many ways, the history of the NHS is also the history of modern nursing.

For nurses, the NHS has provided us with an environment where we can flourish - where we have been able to expand the scope of our practice and explore new ways to improve the quality of patient care. But perhaps more importantly, the NHS has always enjoyed a very special relationship with the British public.

That bond between the NHS and the public lies at the heart of the success of the health service. Itís the secret ingredient that ensures that the NHS will continue to play a crucial role in British life for another 50 years.

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