On Thursday 5 July the NHS turned seventy and to celebrate the milestone, a multi-faith service was held at Westminster Abbey. There were speeches from Simon Stevens (Chief Executive of NHS England), Olive Belfield (one of the first NHS recruits in 1948), Martin Griffiths (a trauma surgeon who treated victims of the London Bridge terror attack) and Freya Lewis (a survivor of the Manchester terror attack). HRH The Countess of Wessex was in attendance, as well as MP Jeremy Hunt who delivered a reading. Over two thousand guests were invited to the event, oh and then there was me!
I have been working as an Expert by Experience for Choice Support for two years. An Expert by Experience is someone who has direct experience of using health and social care services and assists the CQC with inspections of said services. Personally, I have a rare genetic eye condition called Norrie Disease and to date have had twenty eye operations on the NHS. On numerous occasions these operations restored my vision and gave me the gift of sight for that little bit longer.
It was an absolute privilege to represent Choice Support, the CQC and patients of the NHS at the service by performing a reading and in turn thanking the NHS for all that they have done. Equally, it was an honour to meet HRH The Countess of Wessex who gave my Guide Dog Calvin a royal pat and told me how he gave her a good sniff when I paused to curtsy to her on the way up to the lectern! Calvin clearly didn’t get the memo about royal etiquette! It was a brilliant day with lots of memories made and I am grateful to both Choice Support and the CQC for giving me the opportunity.
Selina Litt, Expert by Experience
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