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Celebrating the NHS's 70th

Long-serving NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group staff who have together dedicated nearly 95 years to working in the health service will travel to London next Thursday (5 July) to take part in national celebrations to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

Tessa Litherland and Anita Bagge will take part in a service of celebration and thanks at Westminster Abbey, alongside other NHS staff from across the country, volunteers and patient representatives.

The duo, who have together clocked up 75 years of service, will accompany Melanie Craig, the CCG’s chief officer, who has worked in the NHS since 1999.

Tessa joined the NHS 30 years’ ago after leaving the RAF. She started her career with Peterborough Health Authority, and has held a variety of different roles since, including working in the control room in Norwich overnight on Millennium eve.

She then headed up the contracting department at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in London before moving back to Norfolk in 2004 and joining Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust, the CCG’s predecessor organisation, in 2010.

“The NHS has been a massive part of my life,” said Tessa, who lives in Beccles and is the CCG’s deputy director financial planning and QIPP. “I’ve met some really wonderful people who, like me, have lived and breathed the NHS, and made some truly great lifelong friends.

“The biggest change I’ve seen during my career has been computerisation – I can still remember entering details onto large paper ledgers! I also remember debates about how the NHS could reduce waiting times for routine operations – we’ve now cut those waits from years to just a few weeks in some cases, which shows how far we’ve come.

“I’m really looking forward to going to Westminster Abbey and being part of the ceremony with staff from all parts of the NHS and celebrating its first 70 years. Here’s to the next 70!”

Anita, who lives near Norwich, joined the NHS aged just 16 as a cadet nurse, and went onto train as a general nurse at Kings College Hospital in London before moving to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital as a staff nurse.

She went onto work as both a hospital midwife and health visitor before entering management at Norwich Primary Care Trust. She later becoming named nurse for safeguarding children at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust before moving into her current role of designated nurse for looked after children for Norfolk.

“There are of course many changes since I began nursing, but perhaps modern diagnostics, such as MRI imaging, have impressed me most,” said Anita, who will have worked for the NHS for 45 years in September.

“At this time of challenge for the NHS I am looking forward to reflecting on the good it has done for so many people over the years.”

Ms Craig said: “The NHS is a much-loved organisation which has played a vital role in so many people’s lives since it’s launch 70 years ago. I am delighted to have been given the chance to mark this milestone with some of the health service’s longest serving staff.”

To get involved with the celebrations taking place to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday visit

published on 26/06/2018

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