Queen Elizabeth has awarded the NHS the UK’s highest award for heroism, the George Cross, as part of its 73rd anniversary celebrations.
This is part of the anniversary celebrations aimed at recognising and celebrating the work of NHS staff across the four nations of the UK, the Queen has praised and championed their “courage, compassion and dedication” over more than 70 years of service.
In a handwritten, heartfelt message, 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.
“Collectively, over more than seven decades, they have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service.
“You have the enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation of us all.”
The George Cross was established by King George VI during the height of the Blitz in September 1940, at the start of the 2nd world war.
The NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the award has recognised the “skill and fortitude” of all the staff who have responded to “the greatest challenge this nation has faced since the Second World War”.