Nurse accepts honour on behalf of NHS Scotland.
Her Majesty The Queen has presented the George Cross to the NHS for 74 years of dedicated service.
The award for heroism was accepted by representatives of the NHS from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in an audience at Windsor Castle.
It is only the third time in the award’s 82 year history that the honour has been presented to an organisation and follows the efforts of health and social care workers across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accepting the award on behalf of the health service in Scotland was NHS Scotland Chief Executive Caroline Lamb, and Eleanor Grant, a palliative care nurse specialist at University Hospital in Wishaw who was named Nurse of the Year at the Scottish Health Awards 2021.
Ms Lamb said:
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without our health services.
“NHS and social care staff have cared for all of us on the frontline of the pandemic.
“Thanks to their dedication and duty our NHS has saved countless lives and the George Cross is a symbol of the country’s gratitude.
“I know that the rest of Scotland will join me in paying tribute and giving thanks for everything the NHS and wider social care has done for us not only during the pandemic, but since its formation in 1948.
“The NHS is only the third entity to receive the George Cross and I am truly honoured. This award goes beyond the commitment and personal sacrifices staff have made over the past two-and-a-half years. It reflects the wider admiration and gratitude we all have for the NHS.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone working across the health and social care sector for everything they have done, and continue to do, to care for us all.”
Ms Grant has been a nurse for 35 years, working in St Andrew’s Hospice before re-joining the NHS to provide hospital patients with palliative and end-of-life care.
Ms Grant said:
“I’m absolutely thrilled to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues across health and social care In Scotland. It’s an honour and a privilege.
“For me, COVID-19 has changed how I work. When patients were unable to have loved ones with them in their final moments, it was for me to be there. We all pulled together in the toughest of times and did what we had to do.
“The George Cross is sometimes awarded to individuals involved in the military and it feels quite fitting for this recognition to be given to the NHS as the early days of the pandemic did feel like a battle.”