A time to wish the NHS a happy birthday

People across Scotland are encouraged to join celebrations marking the anniversary of the NHS.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 10:55 am
A mural in Sandyford, Glasgow, is dedicated to the NHS and key workers. Photo: John Devlin
A mural in Sandyford, Glasgow, is dedicated to the NHS and key workers. Photo: John Devlin

The 72nd anniversary of the health service is on Sunday, July 5, and people are asked to join applause at 5pm.

Broadcasters across the UK will suspend normal transmission as people take a moment to think of others to applaud NHS and key workers as well as everyone who has volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going throughout the pandemic.

The organisers, the Together coalition, hope people will then enjoy a cuppa with friends, families and neighbours, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.

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The coalition is chaired by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and includes members from the NHS, the John Smith Centre, the Scottish Refugee Council and playwright David Greig as well as a host of community, sports and creative organisations.

The night before the pause for applause, Saturday, people are asked to put a light in their windows as an act of remembrance for those lost during the pandemic.

NHS Scotland chief executive John Connaghan said: “Over its 72 years, the NHS has continually adapted and responded in order to meet the health needs of the people of Scotland.

“Our entire health service has responded in ways it has never had to before to deal with the challenges of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Every week we recognise the extraordinary contribution of the workers in our entire health and social care system: they have demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, courage and skill in adapting to unprecedented circumstances.

“We will mark the anniversary of the NHS in Scotland next week. It gives us another opportunity to once again say to those working in, and with, our NHS: thank you.”

Bobby Hain, managing director of broadcaster STV, added: “Up and down the country, people have joined together to get through what has been a very challenging time. The sense of community and gratitude for key workers across Scotland over the past three months has been both powerful and heart warming, and we’re pleased to pause transmission and clap together to recognise these heroic efforts.”

Sabir Zazai from the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The pandemic has hit Scotland hard, especially black and minority ethnic groups. What has got us through the crisis so far are the thousands of unsung heroes doing their bit and good neighbours who have helped their community.

“That’s why we’re asking people across Scotland to join us on July 5 in building a moment that says thank you to everyone who has helped us so far and that keeps us connected with our neighbours. We know in the next phase of the virus we’ll need to stick together to get through it.”

Dame Katherine Grainger, chairperson of UK Sport, said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Together Coalition to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the NHS and to thank all those who have helped, and are continuing to help, the nation through this crisis.

“We have so much to be proud of in our country and the pandemic has demonstrated again just how willing people are to help and support others in times of need. The heroes of this pandemic come in many different guises and extend beyond the NHS into all pockets of society. I would like to join in the thanks to all of those who are helping the nation through such challenging times.”