The Fabian Society, a left of centre think tank, said prime minister Gordon Brown should make 5 July a new bank holiday.
Rachael Jolley, the co-author of a report on the idea, said: ‘This could be our version of the 4 of July, with plenty for everyone to celebrate. The NHS says so much about Britain. It is open to everyone and is a popular national institution.
‘We expect there would be a cross-party consensus to support it,’ she said.
Howard Stoate, a member of the commons’ health select committee, said he backed the idea.
‘Few other institutions have done as much to tackle inequality and disadvantage in Britain and I think that it is right to set aside a day on which to remind ourselves of this achievement and to celebrate the efforts of those that work within it,’ he said.
See the latest edition of NT and nursingtimes.net for comprehensive coverage of the start of anniversary celebrations.