Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has today thanked staff who were caring for patients over Christmas, and for all their work over what he described as 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 and 12,000 midwives are expected to help with the birth of around 1,400 Christmas babies.
“2017 in many ways has been a very pressurised time for the NHS and for you, our staff”
In addition, around 176,000 care workers and home carers will be giving up their Christmas Day, said NHS England.
It also noted that it came after a year that has seen NHS staff demonstrate 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, Mr Stevens praised the contribution of all those who gave up “precious time with their families to look after the most vulnerable over the holidays”.
He 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,” he noted.
Mr Stevens acknowledged that 2017 had in “many ways” represented a “very pressurised time for the NHS and for you, our staff”.
He also highlighted that looking ahead to next year, on 5 July, the NHS would be celebrating its 70th anniversary, recognising the valuable contribution it has made over the decades and looking ahead to its future.
“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,” he added.