On 5 July 1948, the national health service was launched by then-minister for health Aneurin Bevan.
More than seven decades later, the NHS is facing “the most testing time” in its history, the Prince of Wales said.
On the 72nd anniversary of the NHS, the royal released a video message in support of the health service, stating that it’s “founding principle” is particularly apt at this period of time.
“On July the 5th 1948, just four months before I was born, Trafford General Hospital opened its doors, providing care to all according to their need, not their ability to pay,” the 71-year-old said.
“After more than seven decades, that founding principle, though now familiar, is still a profoundly moving statement of our values – and it has never been more relevant than it is now.”
Prince Charles stated that the Covid-19 pandemic “means that the NHS – and the entire country – has been through the most testing time in the service’s history”.
The heir apparent then listed several positions within the healthcare service, describing those who have continued in these roles throughout the coronavirus crisis as “selfless”.
“Our remarkable 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,” he said.
On the 72nd birthday of the NHS, we thank all the NHS staff and workers who have worked tirelessly and supported the people of the UK throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.#NHSBirthday pic.twitter.com/R2bWxejGgC— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse)July 5, 2020
“And, in tribute to them, we have come together as a nation to thank them for their skill, professionalism and dedication.”
Prince Charles highlighted how society as a whole has “risen to this extraordinary challenge”, commending individuals who have “continued to provide vital services” including farmers, delivery drivers, shop workers and transport staff.
“Every new difficulty has been met with a new solution. Countless volunteers have come forward to help those in greatest need and, of course, all have had their part to play by heeding the official advice to help stop the spread of this cruel virus.”
The Prince of Wales stressed that the “renewal of community spirit” among the nation “has been a silver lining during this dark time”.
He also referenced the term “to shield”, explaining that while it has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic as vulnerable people shield at home, “the principle of protection for those in need is timeless”.