Frontline South West NHS staff will be among the guests at the St Paul’s Cathedral service of thanksgiving for the hard work of NHS in the last year on Monday 5 July, the 73rd birthday of the NHS.  

The service will be led by the Very Reverend Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s and the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London. 

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens will deliver an address recognising the dedication and commitment of all those who have played their part in combating coronavirus across the NHS, care sector and beyond. 

Dr Ashley Price, a member of the team who treated the very first patients with the coronavirus in this country, and May Parsons, who administered the first vaccine outside of a trial, will take part in the socially distanced service. 

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Saïd Professorship of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, who designed the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine and Professor Sir Peter Horby, who helped run the NHS trial that found the first effective treatment for COVID-19, dexamethasone, will be among those attending. 

Elizabeth O’Mahony, Regional Director of the NHS in the South West, said:

“The service at St Paul’s Cathedral recognises the incredible effort that has been needed across the health and care sector and in our communities to tackle the challenges of this pandemic.

“I am proud of the continued work of our NHS staff and the volunteers who have supported us over this past year. It is important we take this moment to reflect and give thanks, and remember those who sadly are no longer with us.”

South West NHS staff attending the service include:

Gemma Jorge, Sister at Yeovil Hospital who said:

“It’s a real honour to be invited to attend this event. It’s been an exceptionally challenging year for everyone involved in care and this provides an important moment to pause and reflect on what we have been through and prepare for the challenges that still lay ahead. “I’m so proud to work for the NHS and proud to be representing my wonderful colleagues within Yeovil Hospital.”

Jess Griffiths, Eating Disorders Practitioner, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, who said: 

“I’m delighted that I’ve been invited to the NHS National Service of Thanksgiving on 5 July. I think it’s going to be a poignant event and there will be such a lot to celebrate.

“The NHS has been a lifeline to so many people through this last year in particular. I will be representing all the staff who have worked so hard over this time, we’re all a team and we couldn’t do what we do without each other.”

Scott Grier, Lead Consultant, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, who said:

“It’s a huge honour and privilege to represent colleagues from across the South West at the NHS service in St Paul’s Cathedral. As an intensive care consultant and lead consultant for the South West’s dedicated Adult Critical Care Transfer Service, Retrieve, I’ve worked closely with NHS England and Improvement South West, the South West Critical Care Network and clinical colleagues from across the region over the past 18 months.

“The pandemic has been a uniquely challenging time and I’ve seen our region come together and collaborate like never before, ensuring we provide the best possible critical care to patients, and support to colleagues, across the complex geography that we have.

“I’m enormously proud to work in the NHS and enjoy the varied roles I have. The last year has introduced me to people at every level of our organisation – locally, regionally and nationally – and I am continuously humbled by how colleagues go above and beyond to help benefit patients, colleagues, NHS Trusts and our wider networks and region.”

Minnie Klepacz, Matron, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, who said:

“I was very flattered to be invited to St Paul’s for the National Service of Thanksgiving. I will be very proud to represent University Hospitals Dorset and all my colleagues across our hospitals.

“This last year has brought us all closer together as one team and has shown how fantastic our NHS is. I came to Bournemouth from the Philippines 19 years ago to work as a nurse and it is also such an honour to represent the many Filipino staff working across our NHS.”

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