Derby and Derbyshire represented at Westminster Abbey 75th NHS anniversary service

A group of 10 colleagues from NHS Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) will attend an anniversary service for the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

They will join other NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities at the service on Wednesday at Westminster Abbey.

The group of 10 include Harpal Kaur, who is co-chair of the ICB’s diversity and inclusion network – a staff forum.

Harpal, who works as a senior clinical quality patient experience administrator, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I was born and brought up in Derby and I want to attend to represent the Black and minority ethnic communities of Derby and Derbyshire.

“We need to show a cross section of our community and give people from those communities a voice.

“We need also to have a conversation with people about providing the right level of care and addressing health inequalities and the things we don’t do so well.

“I am looking forward to meeting delegates from across the UK, to celebrating and rejoicing in our NHS.

“The NHS was created to provide free care to all citizens and today it is a melting pot of so many different communities who are all professional in what they do for their fellow citizens. So I will be very proud to attend.”

Suzanne Pickering, who is the ICB’s head of governance, said: “I have worked for the NHS in Derbyshire for 31 years and I am honoured to have been nominated to attend the NHS 75 service at Westminster Abbey. Our national and regional institutions have changed greatly over the years but at its heart remains the health and care of the people for whom we serve.”

Paula Whitehurst, who is joining colleagues Slakahan Dhadli and Amy Green from the ICB’s medicines management team, said: “We are pleased and excited to be given the opportunity to attend the event and represent Derby and Derbyshire ICB.

“We appreciate the opportunity to attend in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the NHS and representing the many of us who have dedicated their careers to the NHS.”

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

It comes a week after the 75th anniversary of Windrush Day. This was an opportunity to remember that the NHS has always not just welcomed talent from around the world, but relied on it. 

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

Prayers will be read by/ 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 will also be given by/ 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.