To mark the NHS 73rd Birthday, the Health and Social Care Secretary and health ministers have been meeting NHS staff to thank them for their service to this country over the past year.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, today attended a service of thanks and commemoration at St Paul’s Cathedral where he joined NHS frontline staff and patients in reflecting on the past year. He expressed his gratitude to all health and care staff who have worked above and beyond for the nation during the pandemic.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, said: “This year, the NHS’s birthday is like no other. In this most extraordinary of years, I cannot say thank you enough to the remarkable people working in our health and social care sector for their incredible service to the nation.

“It was an honour to attend St Paul’s Cathedral service today and hear from frontline NHS staff and patients about the remarkable care provided during this pandemic.

“The passion and dedication of our amazing staff across the NHS, doing their best to defeat this virus every single day, is truly humbling and I want to applaud them all for their incredible service including rolling out the life saving vaccine.”

Health ministers joined the Health and Social Care Secretary today in praising NHS staff for all their work. Ministers visited several NHS hospitals to meet staff in person and thank them personally.

These include:

  • Minister for Care Helen Whately visiting St Mary’s hospital, London to meet workforce staff
  • Minister Jo Churchill visiting Addenbrooke hospital, Cambridge to see staff working at a breast cancer research unit and leg ulcer unit
  • Minister for Health Ed Argar visiting Whipps Cross hospital, London to hear about their plans for a new hospital as part of our commitment to deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030
  • Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell visiting University College London Hospital, London to meet staff working in our world-beating proton beam therapy unit
  • Minister for Vaccines Nadhim Zahawi, visiting King’s Hospital vaccination centre, London to meet with vaccinators and patients

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said: “It’s hard to imagine life without the NHS – it’s become part of our national DNA. The NHS is at heart its people, and I am incredibly grateful to all our dedicated health service staff, particularly in this most difficult of years.

“It was fantastic to visit St Mary’s Hospital to celebrate the NHS’s birthday with some of the 1.4 million staff who work in our NHS.

“The whole country recognises the tireless efforts of doctors, nurses, paramedics, care staff and all the other health and care workers who have looked after so many of us during the darkest hours of this global pandemic.”

Health Minister, Jo Churchill, said: “Over the past 73 years the NHS has helped the whole country on countless occasions – through their most difficult as well as their most precious moments. There is no doubt each and every person across the country is incredibly grateful for all the amazing work the NHS has carried out throughout this pandemic.

“It was heart-warming to meet the hardworking doctors and nurses at Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge today a hospital special to me as my mum trained there. From experts using technology to carry out life-saving heart transplants, to the vital work of their cancer screening team who are helping women catch cancer in its tracks, everyone there is doing their bit for the nation and us all.”

Minister for Health, Ed Argar, said: “Today we celebrate the 73rd birthday of the NHS,  and I know everyone joins me in thanking our brilliant NHS workforce for tirelessly to providing world-class healthcare in the midst of a global pandemic, but also every day for the past 73 years.

“My top priority is ensuring the NHS is fit for the future, so it was a pleasure to visit Whipps Cross hospital in London to meet staff and hear about their plans to be part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.

“We are supporting NHS Trusts up and down the country to build back better so the NHS remains one of the nation’s greatest treasures for future generations to come.”

Minister for Innovation, Lord Bethell, said: “I am incredibly proud of everything our NHS has achieved in the 73 great years of its history, leading the world one health innovation at a time – from the first robotic surgery to the first baby born using IVF technology.

“I’m delighted to have visited University College London hospital on the National Health Service’s birthday to meet the excellent staff at their world-leading proton beam therapy unit. One of my greatest commitments is to ensure the NHS receives the investment it needs so patients continue to benefit from world-class healthcare brought by health innovation.”

Minister for Vaccines, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “I’m incredibly proud and grateful to the health and care workers and volunteers who are working round-the-clock to roll out the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in our NHS’s 73-year long history.

“Today I met some of these heroes at King’s Hospital vaccination centre to meet with vaccinators and patients and spoke to patients who received their doses today.

“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated so we can beat this virus together, and don’t forget to thank the incredible people who give you your jab and are helping you to protect not only yourself but also your loved ones.”

Minister for Mental Health, Nadine Dorries, said: “The pandemic has taken its toll on us all and the entire nation joins me in appreciating how the NHS has always been there over the last 73 years to get us through our darkest moments especially when it comes to our mental health.

“Day in, day out our excellent frontline staff have worked tirelessly so our health service remains open and looks after the nation’s wellbeing – in our hospitals as well as continuing to run our mental health and postnatal services – so that people can access help safely from home and face-to-face where appropriate.”