Image: Hull City Council
The story so far…..
Hardly a day goes by without some ‘bad news’ story about the NHS. When my own hospital was savaged unjustifiably I decided that the time had come to counter these media attacks with a different message. Eight months ago, Big Up the NHS was born. Within 8 months we had over 20,000 Twitter followers and 2000 Facebook group members.
Our latest project is #NHS66 - the biggest themed birthday party ever held.
5th July this year is the 66th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.
The plan is that individuals, departments or whole organisations will organise their own celebrations on the day linked loosely by the banner #NHS66.
There is no central control, no registration, no organising committee, no budget – just enthusiasts working separately but with a common purpose. We will highlight all that is good in the NHS, celebrate its longevity, boost morale, improve public confidence and help secure its future.
My personal contribution will be to coordinate the “Biggest Birthday Party Ever” where lots of smaller individual celebrations will be linked by picture posted with the hash tag and a live Twitter discussion on the day with the tag #thankyouNHS.
The threats to the future of the service have never been greater and there has never been a more pressing need to improve morale and focus public attention.
The idea is enormously popular and social media is buzzing. Now is the time to convert the interest and excitement into action - to move from the virtual to the real world? I know of about a dozen definite events but we need more.
How will it work?
This is of course not one party but a lot of separate parties held by individuals or organisations with a common theme – the birthday of the NHS – and all happening on the same day.
There are no rules about what form they should take. Indoors or outdoors, barbecue or fine dining, fancy dress, disco or ballroom – anything goes. You could make your party a fundraiser if you wish. It could be just a few friends meeting in the pub. The main thing is that there should be an explicit purpose - to celebrate the achievements and longevity of the NHS.
Please use the NHS66 logo wherever possible.
Spread the word - beforehand, talk and tweet about your party as much as you can.
If you are planning something exciting then tell the press about it. A draft press release can be found here as a starting point.
Although there are serious issues in the NHS there is good reason to celebrate its successes. There is no need to make excuses for having fun.
Do you like the idea? What should I do next? Can you help? Are you organising a party? Answers on a virtual post card please to @butNHS. Or you can email details to me on [email protected], letting me know roughly where it will be held (no need to give precise location) and approximately how many are coming.
And remember, there will be other events under the badge NHS66 taking place on the day. Please try to make time to support these as well.
Come on – it is on a Saturday, it will be the middle of summer and this is a good cause. What better excuse to have a party. Let's do it!
On the evening of the day itself, I'm asking everyone involved to tweet pictures of their party with the tag #NHS66. Let's make it the nation’s biggest birthday party ever!