Ozzy Osbourne in tribute to 'dedicated' NHS

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The Independent Online

Legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne has paid tribute to the NHS 63 years after it was founded in the year of his birth.

The former Black Sabbath frontman, who was born five months after the service was created on this day in 1948, was one of the first generation of NHS babies.

The singer was also treated by NHS staff in 2003 after a near-fatal accident at his Buckinghamshire home left him with a fractured neck vertebra, eight fractured ribs and a broken collarbone.

He said: "If it wasn't for the hard-working staff of the NHS following my serious quad bike accident, I may not be here today to continue my career as the Prince of Darkness.

"I want to say a big thank you to all of the dedicated doctors, nurses and everyone else who makes up the NHS across the country - from Birmingham to Berkshire. Just like me, it's still going strong after 63 years. Long may we both keep it up."

Osbourne, who first found fame in the 1970s as the lead singer of the ground-breaking heavy metal band, became a star all over again when the fly-on-the-wall reality TV show The Osbournes became an unexpected hit.

Today's anniversary will see Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announce plans for a national Leadership Academy, aimed at developing the leadership skills of frontline NHS staff.

Mr Lansley said he wanted to "help all doctors and nurses develop the leadership skills they need to drive a truly world-class NHS".

"Frontline NHS staff have shown they can work smarter, be more responsive and give patients better health outcomes. The challenge now is to make this the rule, not the exception," he added.

Prime Minister David Cameron added: "We can all be so proud that Britain's best-loved institution has been caring for people for more than six decades. But if we want the NHS to continue to be there for people in the decades to come, we need to modernise it."