NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said he hoped the public would use the anniversary as an opportunity to “say a heartfelt thank you” to hospital staff.
Sir Simon said: “This year has been the most challenging in NHS history, with staff displaying extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion to care for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and many others besides.
“During this testing time our nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists and countless more colleagues were sustained by the support of the public, not least through the weekly applause for key workers.
“No health service, not even the NHS, could have coped alone with this coronavirus pandemic.”
Chief executive for NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, said Clap for Carers was “very much embraced” in Wales, and he was “delighted” to support it.
The nationwide clap has been organised following a letter from the Together coalition, in which influential figures including Sir Simon and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby voiced their support for making July 5 an official day of commemoration.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said NHS staff needed a pay boost in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
He made the call during a virtual rally marking the 72 years of the NHS in which he praised health service staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
Sir Keir said: “The pride and the thanks that we have for the NHS, which is always there, is reinforced this year by everything that all the staff in the NHS have done in relation to the Covid crisis.
“Of course, we’re not through that, and it will be our NHS heroes and the bravery of what they do which will get us through whatever comes next.
“That’s why it’s very important that we don’t just say thanks, but recognise in a meaningful way what the NHS has done.
“And that’s why Labour supports those calling on the Government today to make an immediate commitment to talks on a pay rise for NHS workers.”
The comments came after unions representing more than 1.3 million nurses, cleaners, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, radiographers, porters, midwives, paramedics and other NHS employees wrote to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister calling for pay talks to start soon.