Today marks the NHS’ 73rd birthday and I would like to reflect on how incredibly lucky we are to have such a treasure as our national health care service.
The coronavirus pandemic means that the NHS has been through a year like no other. It has been an extremely challenging year for the country as a whole, but also a year of hope.
Hospitals have cared for around 400,000 seriously ill Covid patients, including more than 100,000 admitted in January alone, along with millions of others.
At the same time the NHS has rolled out the biggest vaccination programme in health service history, the fastest in Europe and most precise in the world.
The NHS could not have achieved all this without the skill and dedication of our people along with the support of thousands of returners, volunteers, other keyworkers and, of course, the public who played their part by following the social distancing rules.
The NHS’ 73rd birthday offers us all a chance to say a Big Thank You.
Whether it’s a member of staff or a whole team, a member of the public, an organisation or a community, we should take a moment to say thank you to those who have worked so hard or who have helped out over the last 12 months.
We also want to take the opportunity to promote the over 350 different careers available across the NHS in England. Recruiting and retaining more staff will be vital as we seek to tackle the backlogs that have inevitably built up while hospitals cared for hundreds of thousands of Covid patients and get on with delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.
The pandemic has shown that while a career in the NHS can also be challenging it is also hugely rewarding, with the so-called ‘Nightingale effect’ fuelling public interest in working in the health service. The birthday is an opportunity to inspire those considering joining the NHS to make the move – the NHS is open and recruiting.
Today, you may see photographs on social media of people hosting NHS Big Tea parties with communities safely coming together to thank NHS staff and each other for the huge role they have played over the last year.
Today, whilst marking all that the NHS has achieved, I would like to ask you all to remember those who have lost their lives to Covid.
With more data being released each day, it’s becoming more evident the vaccines are having a positive effect and that those hospitalised with the virus are predominantly; unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Across Doncaster 79.8% of residents have now had their 1st dose with the majority, 80% of them also having had their 2nd jab. It’s vital to attend both of your vaccine appointments to ensure you get the best protection.
Please, if you haven’t had your COVID-19 vaccination yet or are due your second, book it now via www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination.