Happy 75th birthday NHS!

Join us in celebrating the NHS and our amazing staff who make it what it is! Catch up on the festivities and see how we celebrated NHS75 across all our sites.

How were you celebrating? You can get involved on social media using the hashtag #NHS75.

Wednesday 5 July

1am-6am: We've taken over the airwaves at BBC 5 Live - Up all night with the Royal Free Hospital

BBC Radio 5 Live spent the night broadcasting from the Royal Free Hospital, with presenter Dotun Adebayo speaking to an array of staff and patients about what the NHS means to them - and there was a special delivery at the end of the shift.

In the emergency department they spoke to Conor Murphy, senior nurse, who spoke about the challenges of the nightshift, while Evans Dampara from the domestic services team explained what his job entails.

Meanwhile urology registrar Darryl Bernstein spoke to Dotun about what the NHS means to him.

Finally, just as the Dotun and team arrived on the labour ward, little baby Alois also made an arrival. New mum and dad Ersida and Latif spoke about how overjoyed they were to become parents to their third son - and praised the incredible care they had received from the midwifery team: a joyous end to the night.

Thank you to all our staff who welcomed Radio 5 Live overnight to help launch the NHS75 celebrations.

You can listen to the whole show on BBC Sounds.

You can listen to some of the highlights which were picked up later in the 5 Live breakfast show here.

If you fast forward to 11 mins in, you can hear Dotun, the presenter, talking about his experience of the night shift, why he came to us, and a replay of the moment when the baby was born. Our coverage also continued into the 5 Live breakfast show, and if you fast forward to 2h 07 mins, you will hear an interview with John Connolly where he talks about our amazing staff, last night's Oscars, our status as a leading cancer service provider and the support we receive from the Royal Free Charity.

8.55am: All smiles at Enfield Civic Centre

Staff at Enfield Civic Centre hosted a special birthday party for the NHS on the eve of NHS75. Colleagues celebrated with a bake off, bingo, fancy dress and more!

A group of people posing for a photo

10.45am: Flying the flag for our hospitals

Our incredible staff represent 110 countries of the world and are a vital part of the RFL and the care we provide to patients. Here are some of them with their colourful flags! 

People with flags

11.53am: Bradley Walsh shares a message to staff

Fresh off the stage from the group RFL Oscars last night, presenter and actor Bradley Walsh had a message to share with staff at the Royal Free London!



12.40am: At the Abbey!

Emergency department speciality doctor Mansour Seid Ahmad is among 1,500 health service staff and guests at Westminster Abbey.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh are attending the service, which also features an address from NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard.

Pictured outside, Mansour said: "It feels great to be here, with a lovely atmosphere and a big NHS family, it's an honour to all NHS members who give their youth, health and life to build the blocks for a better future service."

2pm: Lighting up blue

Since the weekend, the iconic colour of the NHS has proudly shone across our three main sites — Chase Farm Hospital, Barnet Hospital and Royal Free Hospital — highlighting the round the clock care we give to patients delivered by our incredible staff.

Thank you to our estates and facilities colleagues who helped make this happen. #LightUpBlue.

2.25pm: Reflecting on 75 years

Staff and visitors across all our sites have been filling out an NHS75 commemorative book to share their reflections on working for the NHS. Books are available at the main entrances of Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and Royal Free Hospital until 8am on Thursday 6 July.

2.40pm Royal Free London, 75 years of the NHS

— Royal Free London (@RoyalFreeNHS) July 5, 2023

3.10pm: A close shave leads to photo award

A photograph showing one of our patients having a haircut and shave at his hospital bedside has won a national competition to mark 75 years of the NHS.

The winning entry in the ‘Our NHS at 75’ photo competition was submitted in the partners category. Entitled ‘Paul and Flo’, the picture captures the caring interaction between Flo Blackett, a freelance hairdresser funded by the Royal Free Charity to visit patients weekly, and patient Paul Lederman.

Entries were judged by a star-studded panel including Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Ruth May, This Morning’s resident GP Dr Ellie, award-winning journalist Victoria Macdonald, eminent photographer Lewis Khan, Dr Habib Naqvi MBE and Fujifilm’s Theo Georghiades.

Jenny Brodie, content marketing manager at the Royal Free Charity, took the winning photograph.

The 75 shortlisted and winning photographs form an exhibition at Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden, London which is open to public viewing until the end of August.

3.20pm: Mayor of Barnet visits Barnet Hospital

The Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Nagus Narenthira, and her escort, Mr Kan Narenthira, visited Barnet Hospital to thank staff for their incredible work.

3.56pm: Catch up on BH consultant on BBC Radio 5 Live with Naga Munchetty

Catch up on BBC Radio 5 Live to hear Mr Hemant Vakharia speak about being part of the NHS and the work he does.

Hemant is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and took part in the show which focused on women's health.

"We run a very busy obstetric unit at Barnet Hospital and at the Royal Free in general," Hemant said.

"In obstetrics in particular, given the high risk nature of it, we have annual training programmes that we build in to a schedule. These are mandatory rather than optional which allows us to ensure staff are released to brush up on skills."

"Working in a cohesive unit with dedicated staff lifts everyone's morale and people really do go above and beyond on a daily basis."

Catch up from 6.15 minutes here.

4.50pm: Staff attend Westminster Abbey service

Some of our portering, emergency department and switchboard staff (pictured below) also attended today's special service at Westminster Abbey and were honoured to take part in the event which celebrated the hard work, compassion and dedication of colleagues across the NHS over three-quarters of a century. 

portering, ED and switchboard staff outside Westminster Abbey


Thursday 6 July

10:30am: "It was a privilege to represent Barnet Hospital"

Mellissa Cofie, who works as a nurse on Barnet Hospital's rainbow ward, also attended the Westminster Abbey service yesterday and reflected on her journey working for the NHS:

"As an immigrant I arrived in the UK to join my husband. Although a trained administrator, I realised that there was a different way which I could contribute to society. Upon completing my training as a nurse I joined the NHS. I realised that it seeks to provide the best healthcare for people in the UK which is unlike what I was used to.

"Since I joined the NHS, I have endeavoured to work as hard as possible together with my colleagues to help the organisation achieve its objectives.

"It was a privilege to be selected to represent Barnet Hospital at Westminster Abbey which recognised the hard work and efforts of my colleagues at the highest level of our nation. It will inspire us to work harder to ensure that the NHS grows from strength to strength."

Mellissa is pictured below at the service where she met May Parsons, the NHS nurse who delivered the first COVID-19 vaccination in the world.

Mellissa Cofie, a nurse on Barnet Hospital outside Westminster Abbey

2.15pm: Happy birthday #NHS75 celebrations at Edgware Community Hospital yesterday