Happy birthday NHS! Welwyn Hatfield celebrates 73 years of an institution

The NHS is 73 years old today (Monday).

The NHS is 73 years old today (Monday). - Credit: NHS

Celebrations are taking place across Welwyn and Hatfield to mark the 73rd anniversary of the NHS, and to recognise the amazing generosity of charity fundraisers and donors on behalf of patients, staff and services.

Thanks to the efforts of countless people from across the area, health and care organisations in Herts have received thousands of pounds in grants.

Today marks 73 years since the foundation of the National Health Service and celebrations include NHS ‘birthday teas’, various buildings and council facilities being lit up in NHS blue, and a special service of thanks at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The anniversary is also being used as an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to show how funding through the NHS Charities Together grant programme has been spent so far

Dr Jane Halpin, chief executive for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Service, said: “On behalf of all of my colleagues and volunteers, I want to say a huge birthday ‘thank you’ for the amazing generosity the public has shown our health and care sector. Every sponsored event, charity collection and individual donation, large or small, has made a very real difference during what has been a year like no other."

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals across the country have cared for around 400,000 seriously ill COVID-19 patients, including more than 100,000 admitted in January alone, while continuing to manage ‘everyday’ health and wellbeing concerns of the population.

At the same time, the NHS has rolled out the biggest vaccination programme in history thanks to the collective effort of GP practice staff, community and hospital trusts, and everyone who has responded to the call to protect themselves, their friends and their families against the virus by getting vaccinated. 

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Dr Halpin added: "We could not have made it through our 73rd year without the commitment and dedication of our staff, including those who heeded the call to return to work from retirement, supported by volunteers, keyworkers and the public.

"We have been hugely moved by the care and generosity which has been shown to our people; from shopkeepers shepherding NHS staff to the front of queues, teachers caring for our children during lockdown and members of the public fundraising for NHS charities, your kindness has made a huge difference."

For more information on NHS Charities Together, visit nhscharitiestogether.co.uk