NHS chief thanks staff for work over Christmas and a “pressurised” year

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, today thanked staff who are caring for patients over Christmas, and for all their work over a “pressurised year” for the NHS.

On Christmas day alone an estimated 97,000 nurses and 53,000 nursing assistants will be working in hospitals whilst 12,000 midwives are expected to welcome around 1,400 Christmas babies into the UK.

Around 12,000 ambulance staff, including paramedics, will be on duty on Christmas day. In addition, around 176,000 care workers and home carers will be giving up their Christmas day, whilst an army of caterers will produce around 400,000 Christmas dinners to enable patients in hospital to tuck into a festive feast.

It comes after a year that has seen NHS, and other emergency services staff, have demonstrated their bravery, dedication and skill in response to the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell tragedy.

In a video message released on social media today (SAT) Simon Stevens praised the contribution of all those, from porters to consultants and nursing leaders, who give up precious time with their families to look after the most vulnerable over the holidays.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Christmas and New Year is a time when most families are celebrating together with friends, but for hundreds and thousands of NHS staff – for ambulance crews, for A&E nurses, for doctors, for catering assistants, for mental health teams – people are coming into work and are looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our country.

“Christmas Day will also see the NHS staff welcoming into the world around 1,400 newborn babies – an experience my wife and I shared when our own son was born in an NHS hospital on Christmas Day.

“2017 in many ways has been a very pressurised time for the NHS and for you, our staff. Looking to 2018, the NHS is going to be celebrating its 70th anniversary. But as we do that we want to take a moment to say on behalf of everybody in this country a huge thank you to all of you, who are working over the holiday period, putting other people first and making the difference to countless millions of people’s lives – thank you.”

July 5 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS and there will a number of ways the public, NHS staff and partners can get involved, recognising the valuable contribution that the NHS has made over the decades and looking ahead to its future. Follow #NHS70 for details as they become available.

Simon Stevens’ Christmas message