This weekend, everyone is being urged to take part in the biggest ‘thank-you’ the country has ever seen on the birthday of the NHS. It will culminate in an epic pause for applause at 5pm on Sunday 5th July, 72 years after the NHS was founded.
During the last few months, the NHS has been through the greatest test in its lifetime, and we will continue to deal with the many challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future. So we’re coming together across the country to thank everyone who has helped to support us throughout this and beyond.
On Saturday evening, July 4th, everybody will asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of those we have lost during the pandemic. Public buildings will be lit up in NHS blue, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch.
On Sunday, broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm as people across the country pause what they’re doing to think of others.
Everybody will be encouraged to stop what they’re doing and join with others (following social distancing advice of course) in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going.
Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said:
“This year has been the most challenging in NHS history, with staff displaying extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion to care for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and many others besides.
“During this testing time our nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists and countless more colleagues were sustained by the support of the public, not least through the weekly applause for key workers.
“No health service, not even the NHS, could have coped alone with this coronavirus pandemic.
“From bus drivers and teachers to care staff and food retailers and, of course, the public who took action to stay at home to stop infection spreading, everyone played their part.
“The NHS’s anniversary this year not only offers the opportunity for us to say thank you to the nation, but for us all to come together at 5pm to pause and recognise all the work which has taken place in the last months and say a heartfelt thank you.”