Nick Thomas-Symonds voices support for the National Health Service by marking the anniversary with interviews and a Parliamentary Reception

This week, local Member of Parliament, Nick Thomas-Symonds has been leading a series of celebrations. As biographer of Aneurin Bevan and Chair of the Aneurin Bevan Society, healthcare has always featured heavily in his interests.

Mr. Thomas-Symonds has regularly advocated and campaigned on behalf of numerous cancer charities and those supporting rare and degenerative disease. His work in 2016 improved access to repurposed drugs when Mr. Thomas-Symonds collaborated with Cross-Party Members to amend the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovations) Bill utilising provisions of his own Private Members Bill which had been talked out only months earlier, to permit repurposed drugs to be reused for the treatment of other illnesses.  In recent months, the Welsh Government has announced that bisphosphonates, used for osteoporosis, are being repurposed from April to treat breast cancer patients as it can prevent breast cancer spreading to the bone.

Now, seventy years after its foundation, he with the Aneurin Bevan Society are marking the occasion to celebrate the contributions the NHS and its staff have made in the UK, and voicing their support for the NHS and the critically vital work it does as an organisation.

Founded under the Attlee Government on 5 July 1948, Aneurin Bevan, the then Minister for Health and Housing, established the National Health Service to provide healthcare free at the point of delivery, based on need, not wealth, a creation that liberated people across the UK from the financial concerns previously experienced when health services were required.

The Aneurin Bevan Society was established by the Friends of Bevan. Notably, figures such as Michael Foot, the one-time General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union Jack Jones, and distinguished journalist Geoffrey Goodman in the 1990s joined together to mark Bevan’s achievements and promote the ideals by which he lived his life, including protecting and promoting support for the National Health Service.

Amongst the events marking the celebrations, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, has given permission to host a reception celebrating the achievements of, and showing support of, the National Health Service today organised by Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Member of Parliament for Torfaen, biographer of Bevan and Chair of the Society.

Members from across both the Chamber and both Houses are expected to attend alongside charitable workers, healthcare professionals and members of the public to celebrate with speeches. Joining the event will be members of Tredegar’s Brass Band – Bevan’s home town – playing an original piece composed exclusively for the NHS for the first time.

Further to the event, Nick, as Chair of the Bevan Society, has conducted a series of interviews over the last few months with all living Labour leaders, outlining their experiences with the NHS in office and discussing what the NHS means to them. These interviews have been released one a day since Friday 29 June online precluding a 70th anniversary video released today. Interviewees include the present leader, Jeremy Corbyn MP, former leaders Lord Kinnock, Harriet Harman MP, Ed Miliband MP, Dame Margaret Beckett MP, and former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the latter of which has previously given the Society’s annual lecture.

When asked about the NHS and its significance to the UK, Mr. Thomas-Symonds stated:

“The NHS is an invaluable institution that protects our basic right, access to healthcare. I am proud to be able to voice my own support of the National Health Service and its staff who, as I know from experience, treat their patients with patience, compassion and kindness. They are an asset to our country and we should be doing all we can to protect this fantastic institution. NHS; happy seventieth anniversary.”

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