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a group of cartoon NHS staff members, such as doctors and nurses, standing together under a link to the NHS England 75th birthday webpage

5 July 2023 marked 75 years of the NHS. Since the NHS was founded on 5 July 1948, it has always innovated and adapted to meet the needs of each generation The founding principles remain as relevant, and valued, today as they were 75 years ago.

As the NHS turned 75, there were many events taking place to look back on the history and achievements of the NHS – and its staff and volunteers – and the opportunities that lie ahead to shape the next 75. Nationally, there were numerous events, activities, and initiatives planned, including marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush on 22 June.

Throughout the anniversary year, people are encouraged to show their support for the NHS by giving blood, supporting NHS research programmes, joining the NHS Organ Donor Registervolunteering, and donating to NHS charities.


Staff stories

The NHS employs staff from all over the world and 350 different careers. As well as this, volunteers of all ages and backgrounds make a huge and often unseen contribution to the NHS. We want to showcase our colleagues who make the NHS what it is. Click here to view our staff stories page.



NHS75 events and activities

NHS 75 in the Medicine Galleries

London’s Science Museum Medicine Galleries held a late-night event during July exploring how medicine has changed over time and how the future of healthcare might look.

There was a range of interactive activities including lectures, pop-up AI innovations, and a film showcase. Click here to visit the Science Museum website and find out more about the Medicine Galleries.


George Cross medal goes on display

The George Cross medal started its tour across the nation on 6 July with a six-month stint at the iconic Science Museum in South Kensington. It is now on display for NHS staff, patients and the public to view.

The George Cross recognises the courage, compassion and dedication of NHS colleagues and volunteers, during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the work of the NHS since its establishment in 1948.



Light Up Blue

Buildings, historic monuments and other high-profile sites in London will lit up blue on the evening of Wednesday 5 July.

Iconic landmarks such as the London Eye, The Shard and the BT Tower joined in to show support, thanks and respect to NHS staff.

You can view the images of the evening under the #LightUpBlue hashtag on Twitter.


London Metropolitan Archives exhibition

The London Metropolitan Archive welcomed people on 7 July, offering the unique chance to explore archive documents that trace the histories of London’s hospitals, with a collection that dates from 1551 to the modern day.

You can find out more about the exhibition here.


Love and Charity: A History of Giving in the NHS exhibition

The exhibition, Love and Charity: A History of Giving in the NHS, celebrates the vital role charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Charity, have played throughout the health service’s history and how their contribution has helped make the NHS what it is today.

Individuals featured include former GOSH patient, Paul Spencer, who underwent life-saving heart surgery at GOSH at eight years old. Selina Aktar, a peer worker and expert-by-experience with the North London Mental Health Partnership, was also featured.

The exhibition was displayed at the Saatchi Gallery in London from 31 May to 11 June. Find out more about the exhibition on the BBC News website.


NHS Ambassadors

Around 2000 NHS colleagues across England, including some of our wonderful colleagues, have signed up to give a NHS75 school talk as part of the NHS Ambassadors programme. The initiative is open to staff from all levels and professions.


NHS1000 miles

This year is very much a doing year, so why not join the NHS 1000-mile challenge and commit to walk, run, swim or cycle 1,000 miles during 2023?

Those taking part are encouraged to walk, run, swim or cycle (or a combination) a distance of 1,000 miles during the year. That’s an average of 2.74 miles per day. It’s completely free to take part in NHS1000miles. However, participants might want to get sponsored to complete their 1,000.

How can you join?

  1. Work out how you want to complete your miles … and how many you’ll need to do each day/week/month
  2. Track your miles through this dedicated spreadsheet or join the Strava group
  3. If you want to, why not set up a JustGiving page and get sponsored
  4. Share your weekly mileage at the Twitter ‘check-in’ – Sundays, 7.30pm (use/search the hashtag #NHS1000miles)


Parkun for the NHS

‘parkrun for the NHS’ is an exciting partnership between parkrun UK and the NHS to celebrate the NHS’ 75th anniversary and showcase parkrun as a safe and inclusive space for all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be active and social in the great outdoors.

With support from Sir Andy Murray, ‘parkrun for the NHS’ took place on Saturday 8 July and Sunday 9 July.


Westminster Abbey Service

NHS England hosted a multi-faith service on 5 July, from 11am to 12pm, for NHS staff, volunteers and partners at Westminster Abbey.

Some of our wonderful ICB colleagues were invited along. We will be uploading images from the event soon.


Windrush 75th anniversary

Fifty NHS London colleagues (including some colleagues from our organisation) attended a special boat cruise event, held in partnership with the Port of Tilbury to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

The unique afternoon began with a cruise from Waterloo to Tilbury Docks. This was followed by music, exhibitions, talks, and performances.

On 22 June, there was a church service at Southwark Cathedral, led by Churches Together, in which some of our ICB staff, along with Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Office for NHSE and Jane Clegg, Regional Chief Nurse attending. We will be uploading images from the event soon.