As the NHS continues to celebrate its 70th year of service to the people of Lancashire and the rest of the UK, the Bishops of The Church of England in Lancashire have issued a joint statement of encouragement and support for all who work for the NHS.
The statement looks back at the founding of the NHS, as well as praising the work of all NHS staff today; while particularly 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, said today: "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 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.
"We pray God's blessing in this 70th Anniversary year on all whose lives are touched by the NHS. The NHS has been a part of all our lives in so many ways and we are grateful to every one of the 1.4m staff who work tirelessly and compassionately to care for an astonishing 1m patients every 36 hours.
"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.
"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."