The Institute of Health Visiting wishes a very happy 73rd birthday to our fabulous NHS. In recognition of the enormous contribution that the NHS has made to the health and wellbeing of the country, the Queen has awarded the George Cross to the NHS as the service marks its anniversary today.

In a personal message, the Queen said NHS staff across the UK had worked “with courage, compassion and dedication” for more than 70 years.


The Duke of Cambridge is hosting a Buckingham Palace tea later to thank NHS workers.

The awarding of the George Cross by the Queen is made on the advice of the George Cross Committee and the prime minister. This latest award is only the third time the George Cross has been given to a collective body, country or organisation, rather than an individual.

It’s a significant step that children are mentioned in the Queen’s speech to the Houses of Parliament:

“Measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. My Ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.”

We welcome this significant commitment from the Government set out in today’s Queen’s speech. We have more evidence than any other generation that investment in the earliest years of life is the smartest of all investments – this is not hypothetical. There is no time to waste, our youngest citizens have been overlooked for too long. We look forward to working with the Government to strengthen the health visiting service which forms an important part of the solution which will be crucial to ensure that every child really does fulfil their potential.