Today, the NHS turns 73. To celebrate, the Queen has awarded it the George Cross – the highest honours that can be awarded for non-military service.
The George Cross Committee advised the Prime Minister to award the cross, and it was decided that each of the home nations’ NHS should be awarded separate medals.
The Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:
“This award is not just to recognise those who work in the service today, but those who have worked in this loved institution over all the years since it was established.”
“It is hard to put into words how grateful we are to the NHS in Wales for everything they have done throughout the pandemic, going above and beyond the call of duty to treat, care and support us.”
The new United Kingdom Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
“After a year where it has contributed so much and on its 73rd birthday – it is fantastic that the NHS has been awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty the Queen. Thank you to all those who work in the NHS.”
The George Cross is rarely given to organisations, but on this occasion has been awarded to represent not just the hard work of current NHS staff throughout the pandemic, but all NHS staff that have worked for the organisation since it was created in 1948.
People throughout the United Kingdom have been sharing their messages about the NHS, including Labour leader Keir Starmer: