Leaders pay tribute to NHS ahead of nationwide clap to mark 72nd anniversary

The Prince of Wales and Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer have paid tribute to the NHS ahead of a nationwide round of applause to mark its 72nd anniversary.

People will be encouraged to clap at 5pm on Sunday as a way of saying thank you to NHS staff who have worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative follows the success of the weekly Clap for Carers, and it is hoped the applause will become an annual tradition.

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NHS: 72 years of caring for Britain
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NHS: 72 years of caring for Britain
Neonatal nurse Layla Bridges cares for a premature baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Hospital in Burnley, north-west England on May 15, 2020, as national health service (NHS) staff in Britain fight the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Aneurin Bevan, Labour party politician and creator of British National Health Service as Minister of Health in the Attlee Government, addressing Labour meeting in 1958. (Photo by Brian Seed/Getty Images}
Feeding a baby is one of the many varied duties of the nurse, whose tasks call for skill and patience. (Photo by: Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan (1897 - 1960), the Minister of Health, watches a demonstration of a new stretcher in Preston, on the first day of the new National Health Service, 5th July 1948. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Aneurin Bevan, Labour party politician and creator of British National Health Service as Minister of Health in the Attlee Government, addressing Labour meeting in 1958. (Photo by Brian Seed/Getty Images}
Nurses at Dulwich Hospital had a preview today of uniforms they will wear in the future as soon as their present ones wear out. The uniforms are completely new and may be adopted by every hospital in Britain. May 1949 P018812 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
An expectant mother using an inhaler to take the pain killing drug trilene during labour, watched by a hospital midwife. 29th March 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
An expectant mother using an inhaler to take the pain killing drug trilene during labour, watched by a hospital midwife. 29th March 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Minister of health Aneurin Bevan, sitting beneath National Health Service poster. (Photo by Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
A nurse in the maternity unit of a hospital keeps an eye on the pressure from the oxygen cyclinder, as they care for a lillte baby girl. January 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Outside the new maternity unit of the West Norfolk and King's Lynn General Hospital, showing the sign which has made it famours, the unit's first patient says goodbye to one of the nurses. January 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Young patient at a hospital after having an operation for gland trouble, improving under the direct care and attention of his mother. July 1948. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
For the purpose of the training they are using a doll, with tubes attached to its nose. The nueses of six nationalities are getting basic knowledge of their duties at one of the nine hospitals which are being taken over by the new National Health Scheme at the Central Preliminary Training School in Hadley Common, Hertfordshire. 20th February 1948. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Student nurses of six nationalities learn the art of bandaging by working in pairs aand using each other as subject as they receive basic knowledge of their duties at one of the nine hospitals which are being taken over by the new National Health Scheme at the Central Preliminary Training School in Hadley Common, Hertfordshire. 20th February 1948. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Sister Sheila Spark modelling the new nurses' uniform for the British National Health Service, 13th May 1959. In a cotton-viscose/rayon mix, the uniform has short sleeves, detachable collars, strapless aprons, and is designed to be both attractive, hard-wearing and easily cleaned. (Photo by Derek Berwin/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The female medical ward at the Montague Hospital, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, 1959. The hospital was founded in 1889 after a campaign by Dr Sykes and Andrew Montague of Melton Hall. In recognition of his contribution, the hospital was named after him. (Photo by Paul Walters Worldwide Photography Ltd./Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Ward One at the Montague Hospital in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, 1959. The hospital was founded in 1889 after a campaign by Dr Sykes and Andrew Montague of Melton Hall. In recognition of his contribution, the hospital was named after him. (Photo by Paul Walters Worldwide Photography Ltd./Heritage Images/Getty Images)
8th April 1957: Student nurses at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Original Publication: Picture Post - 8859 - The Truth About Teenagers - pub. 1957 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
20th August 1955: A boy recovering from plastic surgery in the children's wing of the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, which was funded by the charitable organisation the Pea-Nut Club to help patients with burns, accidents or birth deformities. Original Publication: Picture Post - 7957 - Peanuts And Plastic Surgery - pub. 1955 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
They are some of the volunteers who stopped a small hospital from shutting down. They came to the rescue of matron Miss Queenie Graham after only two nurses turned up for duty. Most of her staff of 31 were victims of the flu epidemic which has hit Merseyside. But willing hands were ready when the call went out for helpers. Nearly 50 offers flooded the switchboard at the 50 bed Sir Alfred Jones Memorial Hospital, at Garston, Liverpool. December 1969 Z12537-003 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Yorkhill, Glasgow. Mrs Elizabeth Hunter looks through a picture book with her four year old daughter Lorna. Mothers could visit their children in the hospital at any time, 7th May 1969. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Special care unit for premature babies, Nether Edge Hospital, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 1969. Babies being cared for in incubators. Commisioned by the National Coal Board. (Photo by Paul Walters Worldwide Photography Ltd./Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Young boy held closely by his mother, screams as the nurses gives him a vaccination against the measles. 17th March 1969. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Eye screening, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, 1967. In a photograph taken for the Central Office of Information, a patient undergoesn eye check as part of a programme of general health screening. The surgery looks basic and temporary and the eye screening machine sits on an old school desk. (Photo by Paul Walters Worldwide Photography Ltd./Heritage Images/Getty Images)
Newcastle General Hospital. An electronic technician tests neurophysiology apparatus in the new muscular dystrophy laboratories at the General hospital. Circa 1966. (Photo by NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
The District Nurse: General scenes of District Nurse Muggeride out on her rounds visit her elderly patients. Seen here bathing a patients feet. Circa 1960 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Nurses from the Royal College of Nursing deliver a petition to Number Ten Downing Street calling for better pay, 2nd April 1979. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
7th February 1979: Nurses stand outside St Andrew's hospital in Bow, East London holding placards during a four hour strike. They are members of the 'NUPE' union which is defending their wages claim. (Photo by Graham Turner/Keystone/Getty Images)
Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital, Newcastle. Night sister Emily Newby - ward 19, among others, is under her care. December 1979. (Photo by NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
7th February 1979: Staff Nurse Rowena Joseph tending a young patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick Children. (Photo by Colin Davey/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
. some of the nurses who received their certificates at last night's prizegving ceremony at Walsgrave hospital, Coventry. 25th February 1976 (Photo by Coventry Telegraph Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The doctor in charge of the casualty department at Middlesex Hospital turned away a 20 year old hospital orderly as he was not considered an emergency. So 20 year old Patrick Tood was unable to get home owing to his injured foot and no money. Pictured, Patrick Tood outside the Casualty Department at the Middlesex hospital, 20th October 1975. (Photo by Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
29th May 1974: Nurses from the Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, demonstrating outside the Ministry of Health, Elephant and Castle, London, are addressed by the southern regional secretary of COHSE. (Photo by Angela Deane-Drummond/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Nurses Protest march about Wages, Grainger Street, Newcastle, 18th May 1974. CINDERELLA WILL GO TO THE BALL. FAR BETTER WAGES NEEDED. (Photo by NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Newcastle General Hospital. Medical Physics Technician Philip Oliver checks a Coherent XA 30 laser which was bought by a charity aided by The Journal. June 1989. (Photo by NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
TUC General Secretary Norman Willis (centre, front), with union leaders Clive Jenkins (ASTMS, right of Willis), Rodney Bickerstaffe (NUPE, taller man left of Willis) and nurses assemble on London's Victoria Embankment to lead the march to a Hyde Park rally organised by the TUC in protest at Government polices towards the National Health Service. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: The social security in France in October 1985. (Photo by Laurent MAOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
LONDON, UK: Nurses protesting against cuts in NHS funding proposed by the Thatcher's government, London, UK, 1984. (Photo by Dario Mitidieri/Getty Images)
Britain's PM Tony Blair with the Health Secretary Frank Dobson during his tour of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is under construction in Woolwich, South East London, where they announced the next phase in the biggest hospital building programme. * in the history of the NHS, giving the go-ahead to six new NHS hospital projects, totalling more than 650 million in Derby, Leeds, Portsmouth, Oxford, Havering and Blackburn. (Photo by John Stillwell - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Long stay patients in day room of Warley Psychiatric Hospital - the hospital closed in 1999. UK. (Photo by: Photofusion/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Tony Blair (centre) is surrounded by the seven nurses from Sandwell Healthcare NHS Trust in West Bromwich, West Midlands, who made a 110-mile journey to have their picture taken with Mr Blair today (Thursday), after their original photographs with the Prime Minister failed to develop. See PA Story SOCIAL Nurses. Photo by Ben Curtis. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Tony Blair (centre) is surrounded by the seven nurses from Sandwell Healthcare NHS Trust in West Bromwich, West Midlands, who made a 110-mile journey to have their picture taken with Mr Blair today (Thursday), after their original photographs with the Prime Minister failed to develop. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
A birthday message is projected onto the front of main building of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London late last night (July 4) in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the National Health Service. See PA story HEALTH NHS. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Royal Mail's special four-stamp set launched today (Monday) to celebrate the 50th celebrations of the National Health Service. The stamps, intended to symbolise the personal side of the massive organisation, go on sale in post office nationwide from tomorrow. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
A senior nursing Sister and a junior nurse work in a 1990s ward at the Royal London, Whitechapel, on 23rd June 2018, in east London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images)
An elderly patient undergoes Hemodialysis (a blood purifying treatment.) in the Renal unit at St Bartholomews (Barts) Hospital in Smithfield, The City of London, England. The woman is laying back in a comfortable armchair with her right arm flat on a cushion and the tubes that feeds her blood by vascular access from her body into the the dialyzer, a machine that filters the unpurified blood due to the patient's renal (kidney) failure. It is a bright room and many other machines are operating in this manner. Three quarters of the UK's 19,000 dialysis patients receive haemodialysis rather than Peritoneal dialysis, where a sterile solution containing minerals and glucose is run through a tube straight into the intestine. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Kentish Town Health Centre, Bartholomew Road, London, Nw5, United Kingdom, Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, 2009, Kentish Town Health Centre Allford Hall Monaghan Morris London 05/10 View Of Atrium With Wall Graphics And Reception Desk (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Kentish Town Health Centre, Bartholomew Road, London, Nw5, United Kingdom, Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, 2009, Kentish Town Health Centre Allford Hall Monaghan Morris London 05/10 Courtyard To Entrance With Internal Wall Graphics (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Kentish Town Health Centre, Bartholomew Road, London, Nw5, United Kingdom, Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, 2009, Kentish Town Health Centre Allford Hall Monaghan Morris London 05/10 Consulting Room 27 And 28 With Closed Door (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Centre For Sight, Turners Hill Road, East Grimstead, Sussex, United Kingdom, Architect: Toh Shimazaki Architecture, 2009, Centre For Sight Eye Hospital-Dimmed Area For Patient Recuperation After Eye Surgery (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Royal London Hospital under construction becoming Britains largest new hospital, Whitechapel, East London, UK. (Photo by David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)
Royal London Hospital under construction becoming Britains largest new hospital, Whitechapel, East London, UK. (Photo by David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)
Demolition of the former Greenwich District Hospital, Trafalgar Rd, East Greenwich, London. June 2006. The former hospital was purchased by English Partnerships from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust in 2004 for redevelopment. (Photo by Sharon Hearne/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images)
Nurses view a painting by Glasgow artist Robert Miller of three NHS colleagues on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. It hangs just outside the Intensive Care Unit of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
FRIMLEY, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Image released on May 27, A medic seen through the door of an Intensive Care ward at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey to send to the parents as visiting hours are restricted because of COVID pandemic on May 22, 2020 in Frimley, United Kingdom. The hospital is part of the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust which has said that with Covid-19 pressure gradually reducing, they are planning to increase the number of procedures it provides, with more outpatient, diagnostic, endoscopy and surgical services and priority given to the most urgent work, for example, cancer diagnoses and treatments. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
FRIMLEY, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Image released on May 27, Medics at work in an Intensive Care ward treating coronavirus patients at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey to send to the parents as visiting hours are restricted because of COVID pandemic on May 22, 2020 in Frimley, United Kingdom. The hospital is part of the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust which has said that with Covid-19 pressure gradually reducing, they are planning to increase the number of procedures it provides, with more outpatient, diagnostic, endoscopy and surgical services and priority given to the most urgent work, for example, cancer diagnoses and treatments. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
FRIMLEY, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Image released on May 27, Nurses care for a patient in an Intensive Care ward treating victims of the coronavirus in Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on May 22, 2020 in Frimley, United Kingdom. The hospital is part of the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust which has said that with Covid-19 pressure gradually reducing, they are planning to increase the number of procedures it provides, with more outpatient, diagnostic, endoscopy and surgical services and priority given to the most urgent work, for example, cancer diagnoses and treatments. (Photo by Steve Parsons - Pool/Getty Images)
Neonatal Nurse Kirsty Hartley checks on premature baby Theo Anderson whilst he's in the arms of his mother Kirsty Anderson in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Hospital in Burnley, north-west England on May 15, 2020, as national health service (NHS) staff in Britain fight the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Neonatal Nurse Kirsty Hartley cares for premature baby Theo Anderson in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Hospital in Burnley, north-west England on May 15, 2020, as national health service (NHS) staff in Britain fight the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
WREXHAM, WALES - MAY 14: Intensive care nurses wait for a colleague to enter the unit before they leave at Wrexham Maelor Hospital where staff have received funding from local NHS charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky) on May 14, 2020 in Wrexham, Wales. As the National Health Service grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the British public have raised tens of millions of pounds for charities that support NHS institutions and their workers. In Wales, initiatives by the local NHS charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky) show how that fundraising translates to material assistance, going over and above what core NHS funds support. Awyr Las have funded items ranging from appliances and refreshments for staff break rooms to medical equipment like blood pressure monitors and catheterisation models. Awyr Las, one of over 200 NHS charities across the country, is part of NHS Charities Together, the national organisation of charities that was the beneficiary of Captain Tom Moore's historic fundraising campaign. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WREXHAM, WALES - MAY 14: Warning signs adorn the entrance to the Intensive Care Unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital where staff have received funding from local NHS charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky) on May 14, 2020 in Wrexham, Wales. As the National Health Service grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the British public have raised tens of millions of pounds for charities that support NHS institutions and their workers. In Wales, initiatives by the local NHS charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky) show how that fundraising translates to material assistance, going over and above what core NHS funds support. Awyr Las have funded items ranging from appliances and refreshments for staff break rooms to medical equipment like blood pressure monitors and catheterisation models. Awyr Las, one of over 200 NHS charities across the country, is part of NHS Charities Together, the national organisation of charities that was the beneficiary of Captain Tom Moore's historic fundraising campaign. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A member of the clinical staff wears personal protective equipment (PPE) as she cares for a patient at the Intensive Care unit at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, on May 5, 2020. - NHS staff wear an enhanced level of PPE in higher risk areas such as critical care to minimise the spread of infection between staff and patients. Britain's death toll from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has topped 32,000, according to an updated official count released Tuesday, pushing the country past Italy to become the second-most impacted after the United States. (Photo by Neil HALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet NHS workers in the Number 10 garden on Sunday afternoon, while public buildings including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower and the Shard have been lit up blue in tribute to the health service.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Friday, Mr Johnson urged the public to clap for "those who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to help the nation get through this pandemic".

Both Sir Kier and Charles paid tribute to the NHS in separate messages on Sunday.

Prince of Wales visit to thank TfL staff
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the NHS (Chris Jackson/PA)

Charles said: "The current pandemic means that the NHS – and the entire country – has been through the most testing time in the service's history.

"Our remarkably selfless nurses, doctors, paramedics and countless other staff have made costly sacrifices to provide treatment for more than a hundred thousand patients with coronavirus and thousands more who needed other care.

"And, in tribute to them, we have come together as a nation to thank them for their skill, professionalism and dedication."

Meanwhile, Sir Keir said the health service had a personal resonance for him as his late mother was a nurse and later relied on the NHS as she became ill.

He said: "Many, many times she got gravely ill and it was the NHS that she turned to, and I remember as a boy, a teenager, being in high dependency units, in intensive care units, with my mum, watching nurses and other support staff keep my mum alive.

"They did that on more than one occasion – it's etched in my memory. For them, it was just the day job. They were doing that every day.

"So, it's very personal for me and I'm very grateful to the NHS and my mum was very grateful, she loved the NHS through the many decades that she absolutely depended on them."

On Saturday, people observed a minute's silent and lit candles in remembrance of those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

The nationwide clap has been organised following a letter from the Together coalition, in which influential figures including NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby voiced their support for making July 5 an official day of commemoration.

Sir Simon said he hoped the public will use the anniversary as an opportunity to "say a heartfelt thank you" to hospital staff.

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