The work done by NHS nurses over the Christmas period has been recognised this year by chief executive of NHS England Simon Stevens.
Mr Stevens posted a video on YouTube to reflect that in a year when the NHS has celebrated its 70th birthday amid much debate around its future, it is vital to consider the work done by nurses, without whom there would be no service.
"It’s only right that we take a moment on behalf of the whole country to say an enormous ‘thank you’,” he remarked.
“We understand the pressures you’re under. We greatly appreciate the compassion, and the care, that you show.
“And we know that without you, the NHS would not be the brilliant service that the whole nation wants to continue to see."
He was speaking from St Thomas's Hospital, where his son had been born on Christmas Day 15 years ago, and where a team of nurses, midwives and other staff were busy at work.
More than 400,000 NHS staff will have worked on Christmas Day alone, including 82,000 nurses and 55,000 nursing assistants, while 12,000 midwives were on duty too, with an estimated 1,400 babies set to emulate Mr Steven's son and arrive on December 25th.
The rest of the figures were made up of 12,000 frontline ambulance staff, as well as 145,000 care workers and also NHS caterers to ensure Christmas dinners can still be enjoyed on the wards.
A potential problem that can arise in the festive season is staff absenteeism due to the flu and other bugs.
In September, NHS England bosses said they expected all frontline nursing staff to have the flu jab. However, past surveys have shown that nurses are divided over whether this should be mandatory.
Unlike last year, the festive period has not seen patients or staff contracting the flu in large numbers, meaning hospitals have been well staffed and there is less demand.
Written by James Puckle
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