Responding to the latest Downing Street press conference, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“As we mark a year since the first lockdown, I want to pay tribute to the sacrifice, dedication and unwavering commitment of the NHS family during a horrific year of challenge. Tragically, far far too many families are mourning the loss of loved ones, we learnt from ONS figures earlier today that as we mark a minutes silence, that silence will last a lifetime for 146,000. Within the NHS family as well we remember and celebrate our colleagues whose loss we still keenly feel.
“Whilst it’s welcome news that deaths are now coming down, and important to acknowledge that the loss we all feel today could have been that much greater had the NHS not been able to undertake dramatic and rapid transformation to meet the pandemic and demonstrate logistical excellence in delivering the vaccine. But that does not hide today’s tragedy. It will be important in the weeks and months to come that we do not forget the NHS staff on the frontline of the COVID response. They have had no respite for over a year, witnessed the loss of colleagues and provided support to patients when families tragically could not be there with them. The Prime Minister says our people are heroes but they are also human and unless we provide them the support and space they need in the coming weeks and months we risk losing too many of the NHS’ greatest asset – its people.”