Patients and staff at hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside are today holding birthday parties to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is marking the special occasion by delivering birthday cakes, flags, bunting and balloons to its wards and encouraging staff to create a party atmosphere.
The trust is also holding tea dances featuring local dance groups at seven hospitals and a service of thanksgiving at Hexham Abbey, as well as a private dedication at St Aidan’s Church, Thockrington, near Hexham, where Lord Beveridge, the founder of the NHS, is buried.
The celebrations are part of events throughout the country to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS on July 5, and pay tribute to staff and patients who have contributed to the health service since its inception in 1948.
Alan Richardson, chairman of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating this milestone with our patients and staff and come together to collectively wish the NHS a very happy 70th birthday.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the achievements of one of the nation’s most-loved institutions and appreciate the vital role the service plays in all our lives.
“Most importantly, it’s also a chance to thank our extraordinary staff across Northumberland and North Tyneside who dedicate their working lives to delivering compassionate care to our patients.
“Thank you and here’s to the next 70 years.”
Sir Malcolm Grant, NHS England chairman, said: “The NHS’ 1.5million staff work hard every day to keep the people of this country well and they deserve to be celebrated.
“We want to say a huge thank you for all the hard work and extra effort our staff have contributed over the last 70 years – without you we wouldn’t be the world-class service we are today.”
Northumbria Healthcare staff are among around 3,000 NHS employees from across the country who are taking part in national services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster for the anniversary.
Landmarks across the region, including the Royal Border Bridge in Berwick, are being lit up in blue and people are being encouraged to wear blue in support.