NHS Anniversary: Nicola Sturgeon joins nationwide clap for carers

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Media captionCoronavirus: Scots thank the NHS on its 72nd birthday

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among the Scots who joined in a nationwide round of applause paying tribute to NHS staff on the health service's 72nd anniversary.

The public turned out to clap at 17:00 on Sunday for carers who are helping save lives during the pandemic.

Landmarks, including the Kelpies and the National Monument of Scotland, were lit up blue in remembrance on Saturday.

It is hoped the round of applause will become an annual tradition.

The idea was inspired by the success of the weekly Clap for Carers which saw households across the country show their appreciation for the NHS and other key workers during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

In a video message to mark the anniversary, Ms Sturgeon thanked NHS and care workers for their "invaluable" work.

She said: "In Covid-19, our country has faced, and indeed continues to face, an unprecedented challenge.

"And in meeting that challenge we're depending more than ever on our health and care workers.

"All of us owe you such an enormous debt of gratitude. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Image caption A group on Glasgow's Dumbarton Road gathered to join in the clap for carers, before performing the Bill Withers song Lean On Me
Image copyright NHS Scotland
Image caption The Kelpies were one of the landmarks lit up in blue on Saturday

The National Health Service was launched on 5 July 1948, with the core principle that it was free at the point of delivery and based on clinical need.

Annemarie Plas, who founded the Clap for Carers initiative said she thinks the NHS anniversary clap will be a "beautiful moment".

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: "We have had this first part of the crisis, we don't know what lies ahead, so if we can have this one moment where we say thank you to each other and recharge our batteries for what may be a heavier time that lies ahead, then I think that is a beautiful moment."

Image copyright NHS Scotland
Image caption The National Monument of Scotland was also bathed in blue light

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