On Monday, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine, will mark the 73rd anniversary of Britain’s National Health Service. The Royal couple will attend a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in the morning and later in the day will host “Big Tea” for NHS staff at Buckingham Palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became the patron of NHS Charities in December 2020 during the Royal Train Tour. NHS Charities Together is the independent national charity partner of the NHS and an umbrella organisation made up of 240 NHS member charities based within hospitals, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, community health trusts and health boards across the UK.
The Service at St Paul’s will commemorate and give thanks to the NHS’s contribution to the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will reflect on the work and achievements of NHS staff, volunteers and carers, and look ahead to the future of the organisation. Guests will include leading figures in the NHS pandemic response and several hundred members of frontline staff, patients and others involved in the battle against Covid-19.
The guest list includes names like NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens, May Parsons, who administered the first Covid-19 shot outside of clinical trials and Sam Foster, the nurse who gave the first vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca along with staff members who treated the first Covid-19 patients in England, and people who have been treated for the coronavirus.
The “Big Tea” in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, organised by NHS Charities Together, will pay tribute to the hard work of NHS staff who have gone above and beyond in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Prince William and Catherine will meet staff ranging from respiratory ward nurses, counsellors and care workers, to those in non-clinical roles, including catering managers and housekeeping coordinators to thank them for their selfless hard work over the period of 18 months. The Palace said,
“The NHS Big Tea is a national celebration of the health service, offering the chance for communities to come together, reflect and thank NHS staff and volunteers for the role they have played throughout the pandemic. The Buckingham Palace event is one of the thousands of Big Teas on July 5 in homes, hospitals, schools and community spaces across the UK.”
From Evening Standard’s report, “Alexandra Heys, nurse ward manager in the respiratory high care unit at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The special tea at Buckingham Palace means a lot to NHS staff who have been through so much over the last year, and I feel so honoured to be meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today. I know from personal experience that the past year has taken a huge toll on NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard to take care of patients during a challenging time. My team at the respiratory high care unit has cared for over 300 very sick Covid patients, all of whom required dedicated around-the-clock care.“
Earlier today, The Queen has given the George Cross to the National Health Service, recognising its staff – past and present – across the UK, Sky News Reported. Created in 1940 by King George VI, the George Cross is awarded in recognition of acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger and has been given to the NHS on the advice of the George Cross Committee and the prime minister.