Hello, my name is Martin Griffiths. I am a consultant surgeon at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, in the heart of the east end.
It is an honour to be here with you all today, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.
I have worked in the NHS all my adult life. It has mentored and supported me throughout my career as a clinician and taught me the value of service, respect and integrity.
And there is a part of me that still finds it amazing to be a part of a this fantastic institution that provides top quality medical care to any citizen in need of it, regardless of their income or background.
My thoughts today are with my friends and colleagues who are at work as normal in the hospital, advising, treating and caring for our patients as they do every day. We are proud of them, and they deserve our heartfelt thanks.
I am particularly privileged to be part of a world-class team that treats those who have suffered traumatic physical injuries. My own work has focused on the victims of knife crime. I take no pleasure in noting how the numbers have increased over recent years in our capital city.
One of the challenges we face as a society is how to curb the growth of mindless violence. Having seen the damage this does to young bodies and young minds, I am passionate about working with young people, their families and communities to stop the violence and give youth the opportunity to flourish.
I stand with my brothers and sisters who defied the monsters in Manchester, and my friends and colleagues who served London so magnificently at Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park, and of course Grenfell.
I also stand here before you as a representative of a bigger team. I am one of 16,000 people who work for the Barts Health group of hospitals, one of the biggest NHS Trusts in the UK. Like the patients we treat, the staff come from all walks of life, representing all ages, races and beliefs, and speaking many languages. They in turn are all proud to be part of the wider NHS family.
The NHS is what is best about Britain. As a nation we are privileged to have this wonderful service that serves and protects us all. Let’s celebrate Britain, let’s celebrate our commitment to universal health care. Let’s celebrate our NHS.