As the NHS continues to celebrate its 70th year of service, the Bishops of The Church of England in Lancashire have issued a joint statement of encouragement and support for all who work in the health service.
Looking back at the founding of the NHS and praising the work of all NHS staff today and highlighting the important work of the chaplaincy teams, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn; Rt Rev. Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley; and Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster, commended the vision demonstrated in the 1940s to set the NHS up.
"We give thanks to God for the vision of Aneurin Bevan and the government in the 1940s when they set out to create the National Health Service," the statement said. "The key to the success of the NHS - providing healthcare to all based on need and not on ability to pay - continues to be one of the most fundamental social care changes to take place in any developed nation in modern times.
"The Church has a long commitment to national healthcare; many of our hospitals are dedicated to saints and grew out of hospices which were places where pilgrims and other travellers could find hospitality and medical care on their journeys," it continued. "We pray God's blessing in this 70th anniversary year on all whose lives are touched by the NHS."
With 1.4m staff caring for an 'astonishing' 1m patients every 36 hours, the NHS is one of the UK's most beloved institutions, with its employees almost universally going above and beyond in their efforts to provide as comprehensive a heath service as possible.
"Everyone who works for the NHS has an important role to play and the NHS couldn't function effectively without all of them. All staff often work well above and beyond the call of duty and we thank them for their dedication," the Bishops said. "We also give particular thanks for the many Chaplaincy teams that have evolved over the 70 years of the NHS, especially those in Lancashire.
"These Chaplaincy teams provide support and care at all times of the day and night, often at traumatic and difficult moments in the lives of patients, their families and their friends. We offer these greetings to the NHS in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who brought healing and wholeness to a troubled and suffering world."