On 30 April 1946 Aneurin Bevan started the NHS Bill on its journey through the House of Commons. This paved the way for the people of Worsley having access to health care free at the point of need and available to all for the first time.
Barbara and Patricia Hewitt recently met in Westminster to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the NHS.
“At the end of the month we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Nye Bevan's historic NHS Bill starting its passage through Parliament and it is worth remembering this historic Labour development.
“As Bevan did 60 years ago, we believe that the NHS should be free for all at the point of need. I believe in investing more in health care and reforming the service to meet patients' needs. The Tories believe in cutting investment. I believe that the path we choose now will decide the health of the NHS over the next 60 years.
“I am proud of the work of hospitals like the Salford Royal Hospital Trust does and pleased that they have managed to keep to their budget and provide an excellent service to our community. But I understand when people feel concerned when they hear stories about hospital trusts elsewhere being in debt. But when we dig a little deeper, the real picture is a bit different from the way this is being portrayed.
"Deficits within the NHS are historic and have been there for decades in some cases. What is happening is that trusts in some areas are spending beyond their budgets, and this has had to be balanced by trusts in other areas spending less. This situation will not continue and the government is making clear that all trusts have to live within their own budgets rather than relying on other trusts to bail out their overspending.
“The NHS has a deficit of 1 per cent of its total income. Try and imagine if you earned £15 000 and being £150 in debt. A bit of a worry - but not a crisis. What would be a worry is if you didn't pay back the £200 this year - and the debt kept rising and rising each year. After a while this would cause real problems.
“This is what the government are trying to do now. We want to dip the deficit in the bud and make sure that next year the minority of NHS trusts having problems will be able to balance their books.”
Barbara and Patricia Hewitt with the NHS 60th birthday cake