On Air Now
Heart's Feel Good Weekend with Dev Griffin 12pm - 4pm
5 July 2021, 10:07 | Updated: 5 July 2021, 10:20
Queen Elizabeth has given NHS staff the George Cross for carrying out their work 'with courage, compassion and dedication'.
Created in 1940 by King George VI, the George Cross is given to those demonstrating "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger".
Penning a handwritten note, the 95-year-old monarch said NHS staff have worked ‘with courage, compassion and dedication’ over the past 70 years.
She wrote: "It is with great pleasure, on behalf of a grateful nation, that I award the George Cross to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.
"This award recognises all NHS staff, past and present, across all disciplines and all four nations.
"Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service.”
The Queen added: "You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation."
This comes on the 73rd anniversary of the NHS's foundation, with newly appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid adding: "After a year where it has contributed so much and on its 73rd birthday.
“It is fantastic that the NHS has been awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty the Queen.
"Thank you to all those who work in the NHS."
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the award ‘rightly recognises the skill and compassion and the fortitude of staff right across the National Health Service’.
"Out of those dark times have come the best of what it means to be a carer and a health professional," he said.
"In the face of adversity we have seen extraordinary team work, not just across the NHS but involving hundreds of thousands of volunteers, millions of carers, key workers and the British public who have played an indispensable role in helping the health service to look after many hundreds of thousands of seriously ill patients with coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the NHS at a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral today.