With the NHS turning the grand age of 69 last week, it seems only right we should give a (slightly belated) nod to its birthday.
But what makes it loved so dearly by the British public and a globally respected and renowned brand? For me, it is the people who make it happen.
It is those people who have missed their own special family occasions, Christmas dinners or birthday parties to care for others; nursing them back to health or helping them to manage long term conditions.
It is those working quietly in the background to quickly and efficiently support their colleagues to deliver great care.
It is those volunteers who give up their time to give something back to their local communities, by being the first friendly face you see when you arrive in a building or offering you a well-deserved cup of tea.
Together they make an ordinary day become extraordinary.
I had the great pleasure of helping to present our staff long service awards recently, where we heard a brief summary of each individual’s career.
While each person currently works (or has recently retired) from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, many have worked in numerous services and organisations across the whole of the county and beyond.
The wealth of knowledge and experience we had in the room was remarkable, and at times very humbling. What made me especially proud was to know that this was just a small snapshot from the thousands of NHS staff working across multiple organisations in Lincolnshire alone.
Happy birthday to our National Health Service; this is my 35th year working in it and I am very much looking forward to my 36th .