The past two years have seen our country tested in a way which many of us had never seen before in our lifetime.
The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic are a set of circumstances which none of us want to see ever again.
Britain’s health system responded swiftly and flexibly to deal with the pandemic. Staff throughout the NHS had to come together as never before, supported by volunteers and the public.
We know that the NHS is one of Britain’s most treasured institutions and is now receiving record high levels of funding.
With this investment NHS staff continue to go above and beyond for their patients as they work to reduce the Covid backlog by providing 17 million extra diagnostic tests over the next three years. The Department of Health & Social Care will also be adding to the 122 surgical hubs already in operation across England.
At the heart of making these achievements possible are the dedication, skill and compassion of NHS staff, not forgetting the vast number of volunteers, charities and communities that support the health service.
It is right that we recognise the importance of their work, and I am pleased that this can be undertaken through the NHS Parliamentary Awards.
The Awards were launched in 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service. The Awards recognise the essential contributions of staff, volunteers and others working in the health and care sector.
It is thanks to the extraordinary success of the UK’s world-leading Covid-19 vaccination programme that life has been able to return to normality, and while it is important to be mindful that Covid is still very much about, the days of lockdowns and restrictions on our mental and economic well-being are behind us.
More than 49 million people throughout the United Kingdom have received at least two doses of the vaccine, with almost 39 million of these receiving their third or booster dose as well.
In Crawley, more than 81,000 people have been double jabbed, with more than 60,000 people making the decision to have their third or booster vaccine.
In this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards I have nominated our local GP federation, the Alliance for Better Care, for their work in delivering Covid vaccines in our area.
My thanks to all health and care workers in Crawley for their selfless work every day.
Henry Smith MP