Message by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the 72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the NHS
Seventy-one times before, our National Health Service has marked the anniversary of its founding but never in circumstances quite like this. Because this year, we’ve seen not only the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, but also an unprecedented outpouring of affection and support for that institution. Week after week, millions, tens of millions of people have taken to their doorsteps, lined the streets, lent precariously out of rainbow-bedecked windows to clap their hands, band their saucepans and show their appreciation for the NHS.
And that’s because those three letters don’t just stand for National Health Service, they stand for an idea; for a set of values at the heart of our national identity; for the belief, still held almost universally after nearly three quarters of a century: that the health service of this country should be available to all; that everyone should contribute to the cost and that no one should be denied the treatment or attention they require because they can’t afford it. That is what those three letters stand for.
And behind them stand the very special men and women who make it all happen – doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, pharmacists, porters, cleaners, radiographers, administrators, and many, many more. Amazing people in an amazing organisation and one that fills me with pride.
As Prime Minister, I’m proud to have given the NHS a £34 billion funding increase, its biggest in decades, and made sure it has every penny it needs to cope with coronavirus. And as a citizen of this country, I’m immensely proud that the infant conceived, gestated and delivered by Beveridge, Bevan, Willink, Godber, and so many others, has grown into the venerable, sprightly 72-year-old we see today.
Happy birthday, NHS and here’s to the next seventy-two.