On July 27th 2012, I was in the pub with thirty-odd new F1s. It was the end of shadowing week and I had a lot on my mind. I was nervous about starting work for real. I was terrified that people would die and that it would be my fault. I was glad that my fellow F1s were all nice people. And on the TV screens in the pub that we were in, the opening ceremony of the Olympics was beginning and I was keeping one eye on it and half expecting a disaster.

And if you still don’t get the Olympics — not the opening ceremony, but the four weeks of the Games — and you don’t understand what the rest the country is going on about when it talks about that glorious golden month last summer, watch Mo Farah becoming the double Olympic champion and Jessica Ennis winning heptathlon gold with a victory lap around Olympic Stadium and Andy Murray falling to his knees on Centre Court and then read this article by Tim Adams.

But on the night of July 27th in that pub, we had half our attention on the opening ceremony and then this happened:





And with a blazing tribute to the NHS on our television screens, the crowd of brand new doctors put down their drinks and cheered out loud.

That was a year ago tonight.

The NHS is enormous and difficult and imperfect. It will never make a profit and is the black hole of the national budget. It can always do more and it could always do better. It never sleeps. It means the world to this country and to the people in it. It is why my patients are alive and why the people I love are alive and why I am alive. It is why I get up in the morning and it is why I do what I do.

“This is for everyone,” said Danny Boyle.

I am proud of the country that has built and sustained the NHS for the last 65 years. I am proud of the work that it does. I am so very very proud to be a part of it.


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