A NATIONWIDE clap to thank the NHS is to take place today – and it is hoped that it will become an annual tradition.

The weekly Clap for Carers became a success across Scotland during the pandemic, with members of the public showing their appreciation every Thursday at 8pm for ten weeks.

The final of those ended on May 28 after the woman who came up with the idea feared it risked being politicised.

However, an additional commemoration is to take place tonight. Here's what you need to know:

Why is there an extra clap?

Today marks the 72nd birthday of the NHS - with the clap being used as a way to pay thanks and show appreciation to the services over the years.

John Connaghan, chief executive of NHS Scotland, said: “Over its 72 years, the NHS has continually adapted and responded in order to meet the health needs of the people of Scotland.

“The anniversary gives us another opportunity to once again say to those working in and with our NHS ‘‘thank you.”

What time does it take place?

People are asked to stop, think of others, and take part in a round of applause at 5pm.

Broadcasters across the country will stop their normal transmission at this time as people pause for a moment.

Some buildings and landmarks across the country will also light up blue in tribute.

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What has been said about it?

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, the First Minister praised the NHS ahead of the 72nd anniversary of the service being established.

She said: “There is no doubt at all our health and care workers have been challenged over the past period like seldom before in that 72-year history and they have responded absolutely magnificently.

“My thanks once again go to each and every one of them. It is not possible to find the words to sum up the gratitude that I feel.”

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch urged people to take part in the “biggest and loudest clap” across the UK – adding that he wants Scotland to be even louder than the rest.

He said: “During the early stages of this pandemic we demonstrated our appreciation for health and care staff and other key workers with the Clap for Heroes on Thursday evenings.

“So on Sunday evening at 5pm we want to have the biggest and loudest clap yet across the whole of the UK and we want Scotland’s clap to be louder than everybody else.”

What else can I do?

The National Clinical Director also suggested people could share their memories of the NHS on social media with the hashtag #NHSScot72.

He said: “All around the country we will be able to show our support. 

“Please join in the celebration by taking part in the very special clap – and perhaps share your photographs or your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #NHSScot72”.