Cumbria's out-of-hours GP service has received national recognition after winning an award on the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

It comes as the county's health leaders say the best birthday present individuals and communities can give the NHS is to get healthier.

Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) was nominated by five of Cumbria's six MPs for an NHS 70 Parliamentary Award after it became the first out-of-hours service in the country to be rated 'outsatanding'.

It was crowned national champion in the Excellence in Primary Care category at a ceremony in London yesterday.

Susan Blakemore, chief executive, said: "This amazing achievement recognises the hard work and dedication of the whole CHoC team, who provide outstanding and responsive care to the population of Cumbria."

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said: “CHoC continually develop new and effective ways of providing care which have received national recognition, these include telehealth, hospital avoidance schemes and joint working with other providers. All with the aim of ensuring that patients consistently receive the right response, from the right clinician, at the right time. Very well deserved and appreciated by us all in Cumbria.”

Meanwhile local health leaders are asking the public to think about their own lifestyles if they want to help ease pressure on the NHS this anniversary year.

Colin Cox, the county's public health director, said: "The best birthday present anyone can give the NHS is to be healthy, so they aren't using it as much. They can also help the NHS by looking out for other people, supporting neighbours so they aren't left isolated."

Stephen Eames, chief executive of the Cumbria Partnership and North Cumbria Hospitals NHS trusts, said that going forward, they want to help prevent poor health wherever possible.

"We plan to have much more of a focus on supporting people to stay well rather than wait until they become unwell, and that is where we need everyone in our community to get involved," he said.