MP and activists celebrate NHS at venue that played important role in birth of the service
Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson joined Labour Party activists to celebrate 70 years of the NHS at an iconic venue in Southport where the world-renowned health service was first conceived. The 1934 Labour party conference at The Garrick Theatre on Lord Street voted unanimously to prepare for a national health service. The MP joined Southport Labour Parliamentary candidate Liz Savage and party activists at the venue, which is now a Mecca Bingo, where the NHS was first adopted as party policy. The group then marched to Southport and Formby Hospital in Town Lane to present NHS staff with a card and cake. Mr Esterson said it was a significant show of support for a health service in need of "serious investment". "Aneurin Bevan famously said the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it. We are fighting for it. We are fighting against any Tory plans to downgrade services on the back of eight years of stagnant investment in the NHS. Even the Tories' latest proposals for an increase in investment won't make up for what has been taken out since 2010. "We have recently seen proposals to potentially move all services or close some services - this can't be allowed to happen. People want good services local to them and not a reduction in services on offer." The NHS was first accepted as Labour party policy after a resolution was put forward by Dr Somerville Hastings in 1934 and it was unanimously agreed that the party should be committed to the establishment of a "State Health Service". In 1942, the Beveridge Report recommended "comprehensive health and rehabilitation services for prevention and cure of disease". When Clement Attlee's Labour Party won the 1945 election he appointed Aneurin Bevan as Health Minister. Bevan then embarked upon what the official historian of the NHS, Charles Webster, called an "audacious campaign" to take charge of the form the NHS finally took.
PICS: Campaigners outside the Garrick Theatre before the march to Southport hospital on July 7;
Bill Esterson and Liz Savage present a card to staff at Southport & Formby hospital to mark 70 years of the NHS