Sunday Express

‘It is you who have been our shield... it is your gentleness that has made us great’


- By Marco Giannangel­i

PRINCE Charles has led tributes to Britain’s NHS staff “who made costly sacrifices” to treat patients during the coronaviru­s crisis.

Marking the National Health Service’s 72nd anniversar­y, he praised medics and carers for providing a “shield” for the nation during the most testing time of its seven-decade history.

The Prince of Wales also celebrated the “renewal of our community spirit”, dubbing Britain’s “good sense and good humour” as the silver lining during these “dark times”.

The heir to the throne, 71, tested positive for Covid-19 in March.

Seemingly recovered, he admitted recently that the full effects of the virus had not left him and he was still suffering from a loss of sense of smell and taste.

In a three-and-a-half minute

‘Selfless workers are our shield’

video, he hailed July 5 1948, the day that Trafford General Hospital opened its doors, “providing care to all according to their need, not their ability to pay”.

He added: “After more than seven decades, that founding principle, though now familiar, is still a profoundly moving statement of our values – and it has never been more relevant than it is now.

“The current pandemic means that the NHS – and the entire country – have been through the most testing time in the service’s history.

“Our remarkably selfless nurses, doctors, paramedics and countless other staff have made costly sacrifices to provide treatment for more than a hundred thousand patients with coronaviru­s and thousands more who needed other care.” He paraphrase­d Psalm 18: “You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great.”

He said “To all who have given so much during this present danger, I just want to say that it is you who have been our shield. It is your hands that have held us up. It is your gentleness that has made us great. Despite all that has been endured, there is deep cause for gratitude, and a true reason for pride. In the way we care for all members of our society, our greatness truly is in gentleness. So, thank you all for what you have done, more than I can possibly say.”

Chief nursing officer Ruth May said the pandemic had “left my confidence and faith in the NHS not only intact, but enhanced”. She urged everyone to consider joining it to “help make our country proud and keep our neighbours safe”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed a £1.5billion boost to expand A&E capacity and deliver upgrades and maintenanc­e and the Government’s commitment to recruiting 50,000 new nurses. He promised said he would soon be giving details of 40 new hospitals.

● PATIENTS recovering from coronaviru­s will be able to use a new NHS service designed to help them get over the after-effects of the illness. As part of the service, nurses and physiother­apists will be on hand to reply to patients’ needs either online or over the phone. There will also be homebased exercise tutorials and mental health support.

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 ??  ?? TRIBUTE: Charles in his video message to celebrate the NHS
TRIBUTE: Charles in his video message to celebrate the NHS
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