Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Karen Howell reflects on birthday milestone for the health service

YOU can't have escaped hearing about the many events that took place up and down the country last week to mark the NHS' 70th birthday.

We had several staff members who went to Westminster Cathedral and York Cathedral for special services.

Our nurse practitioner for older people, Emma Taylor, was at the House of Commons as regional winner of an MP Parliamentary Award.

Bernadette Chapman, specialist safeguarding nurse, was recognised for long service to the NHS at a special Department of Health and Social Care event in London.

Meanwhile our staff had tea parties across our 50 bases in Wirral and Cheshire East and we held an enormous tea party at St Catherine's Health Centre with our staff, patients and local community.

We were delighted that the mayor and mayoress, Cllr Geoffrey Watt and Mrs Anne Watt, attended, along with Wirral's Olympic gold medal-winning hockey champion Sam Quek who presented prizes to the winners of our children's poster competition.

Hundreds of people came along for a cup of tea and a cake, all donated by local businesses.

None of it would have been possible without their sup- port and generosity, so a huge thank you to Typhoo Tea, Moreton Dairies, Fine Fruits Direct and a local bakery. In July 1948, hospitals and health care professionals of all persuasions were brought together for the first time to provide services free at the point of delivery.

Seventy years on, the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation.

It is thanks to the NHS that we have all but eradicated diseases such as polio and diphtheria, and pioneered new treatments like the world's first liver, heart and lung transplant.

The NHS has delivered huge medical advances and improvements to public health, meaning we can all expect to live longer, healthier lives.

None of it would have been possible without the skill, dedication and compassion of NHS staff over the last seven decades.

The NHS has touched us all at some point in our lives, and the birthday celebrations allowed us all to pause and celebrate the incredible service.

I am extremely proud to belong to the NHS family, and it was wonderful to see so many generations celebrat- ing such a magnificent milestone