South east London celebrates the NHS 73rd birthday

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It has been an extremely challenging year for the NHS and the country as a whole, but also a year of hope. As NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group celebrates the NHS turning 73 in July, it is important to reflect on what has been an extraordinary year. In such challenging circumstances, we have seen our NHS staff, volunteers, partners and local communities in south east London pulling together to deliver a record-breaking COVID-19 vaccination programme.

We want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been a part of this successful vaccination drive. Throughout July, we will be sharing stories from some of our incredible colleagues working in the Primary Care Networks across our six boroughs.

‘The vaccine brought hope’

For the first edition in our series of stories celebrating the people behind the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we spoke to Dr Sebastian Kalwij – a GP Partner at Amersham Vale Practice in south east London since 2014, and Clinical Director for North Lewisham PCN since March 2020. He has been a GP for almost 20 years.

He reflected on the events of the last year and talks about his hopes for the future, “When we received a phone call from the CCG to start setting up a PCN vaccination hub we were all really keen. We are frontline workers, it’s what we do, and we wanted to be part of this historic effort. The only way out of this was the vaccine, and we knew we had to take part.

Like everyone else, I am looking forward to the pandemic ending and things getting back to normal. I want to see people enjoying clubs, bars, football, live concerts or travel, without fear. We all want to live without fear. Without fear of COVID.

I am also looking forward to seeing the booster being rolled out and hopefully that will give us enough protection for the years to come.”

Share your message of thanks to the NHS

There are lots of ways to get involved in celebrating the NHS 73rd birthday.

In south east London, we are suggesting you share your messages of thanks and support with our staff on social media, using #NHSBirthday. You can tag us on Twitter (@NHSSELondonCCG) or on Facebook (NHS South East London CCG), and we will share your post.