"It's the best institution in the world"

That was the message coming from Withybush, as staff joined members of the public to clap for the NHS on its 72nd birthday.

The clap was held at 5pm today (Sunday, July 6), inspired by the Clap for Carers – a weekly clap held during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Western Telegraph:

Around 20 members of staff came out to join in with clap. Picture: Martin Cavaney

Speaking to the Western Telegraph after the clap, agency and hospital staff Lucie Ratcliffe, Alice Clarke, Louise Stubbins and Julie Meaker, praised the NHS.

"It's the best institution in the world, all the public agree its the best," the group said.

Western Telegraph:

"We have got a health care system that is second to none.

"It's been so uplifting to hear everyone clapping, it's really lifted our spirits.

"And seeing all the rainbows in windows, it has helped a lot."

The group thanked the public for all their gifts during the pandemic, drawing special attention to the pictures sent in by children, which they said had gone up on the walls around the hospital.

Western Telegraph:

Julie added: "I've worked all around the world.

"People sometimes complain [about the NHS] but its the best I have seen in the world."

One thing that concerned the group was losing the A&E service at Withybush.

"Losing the A&E is a worry - we have all held together through this crisis.

"All the patients that we have treated might not have got such fast treatment if they had to go somewhere else.

"Covid has proven that we need it."

Western Telegraph:

Raymond and Betty Roach came down from Crundale to show their appreciation and join in with the clap.

"We are very grateful," they said.

"In a way, we both owe our lives to this hospital, we are very grateful to them."

Western Telegraph:

Like the staff, Mr and Mrs Roach were also concerned about losing the A&E service.

"We need to keep [the A&E] here, it's a very important hospital," they said.

"It's so convenient to have Withybush here, otherwise we would have to go all the way to Carmarthen.

"It's unbelievable that we could lose a modern [A&E] like this."

"All the improvements they made to it, it seems a shame it should go to waste.

Landmarks around Pembrokeshire and across the country were lit up last night to pay tribute to the NHS and its staff, including County Hall and Pembroke Castle, in Pembrokeshire, and Downing Street in London.

Western Telegraph:

Pembroke Castle lit up on Saturday night. Picture: Martin Cavaney