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NHS awarded George Cross for efforts shown during the COVID-19 pandemic

The George Cross is the UK’s highest civilian gallantry award and has only been given to a collective group twice before


The NHS has been awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of the dedicated service of healthcare workers that includes their ‘courage, compassion and dedication’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The George Cross, which is given in recognition of ‘acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger’, has only been bestowed to a collective group of people twice before, most recently in 1999.

May Parsons, the nurse who administered the first COVID-19 vaccination in the world, joined NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard to attend the presentation on 12 July – exactly one week after the NHS’s birthday.

The pair were joined by Pritchard’s counterparts, Caroline Lamb from NHS Scotland and Judith Paget from NHS Wales, along with Peter May, permanent secretary at the Department of Health and chief executive of Health and Social Care Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the award, Parsons said: "All of the staff in hospitals and our communities went above and beyond during the pandemic to look after patients despite the risks the virus posed to themselves. Across health and care, staff sacrificed so much to look after those in need. The George Cross is a fitting tribute to them all."

A personal handwritten message from The Queen in support of the Award, reads: ‘...Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service. You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation.’

Dominic Troulan, a retired British Army officer and former Royal Marine was the most recent individual recipient of the George Cross on 16 June 2017 for his actions during the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

The George Cross was first bestowed collectively to the people of Malta on 15 April 1942 by King George VI in recognition of ‘the fortitude displayed by the island’s inhabitants during sustained and devastating enemy bombardments in the Second World War’.

The second, and most recent, group award was given to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Northern Ireland’s police force between 1922 and 2001, on 23 November 1999 in recognition of ‘the collective and sustained bravery of the force’, including the families of those serving.

Article by
Emily Kimber

13th July 2022

From: Healthcare



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