The prime minister has joined a nationwide applause to pay tribute to NHS staff on the 72nd anniversary of the health service.
The round of clapping was inspired by the weekly Clap for Carers initiative to thank key workers during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson said he celebrated with staff who “quite simply, saved my life” after he caught the virus.
It is hoped the anniversary applause will become an annual tradition.
Speaking after applauding outside Downing Street, Boris Johnson tweeted: “Thank you to the whole NHS family and all of our carers for all you have done and continue to do to keep us well and cared for.
“In these past few months, indeed the past 72 years, you have represented the very best of this country. Our gratitude to you will be eternal.”
He later added in a statement that he had marked the occasion with staff from St Thomas’ Hospital, who cared for him when he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus in April.
A World War Two Spitfire plane with the words “Thank U NHS” painted on its underside tipped its wings above hospitals and the homes of fundraisers and volunteers, recognising the way people have supported the NHS and local communities during the pandemic.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the celebrations were “very personal for me” as his late mother was a nurse and later relied on the health service when she became ill.
He said: “Many, many times she got gravely ill and it was the NHS that she turned to, and I remember as a boy, a teenager, being in high dependency units, in intensive care units, with my mum, watching nurses and other support staff keep my mum alive.
“They did that on more than one occasion – it’s etched in my memory. For them, it was just the day job. They were doing that every day.”