Coronavirus: Boris Johnson praises NHS as country’s greatest national asset after saying ‘he could have gone either way’

‘We will defeat this coronavirus and defeat it together,’ says prime minister. ‘We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.’

Peter Stubley
Sunday 12 April 2020 15:56 BST
Boris Johnson discharged from hospital

Boris Johnson has praised the NHS as the UK’s “greatest national asset” in a video message following his release from hospital.

The prime minister personally thanked several health workers by name as he admitted that “things could have gone either way” while he was in intensive care.

They included two nurses who stood by his bedside for 48 hours – Jenny from Invercargill in New Zealand and Luis from Porto in Portugal.

He said: “For every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.

“So that is how I also know that across this country, 24 hours a day, for every second of every hour, there are hundreds of thousands of NHS staff who are acting with the same care and thought and precision as Jenny and Luis.

“That is why we will defeat this coronavirus and defeat it together.”

Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital last Sunday and spent three nights in intensive care during his week-long stay with coronavirus.

On Sunday afternoon he posted a video message on Twitter saying that he had left hospital “after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question”.

He went on to thank “everyone in the entire UK” for making sacrificies, staying indoors and following social distancing rules during the warm weather over Easter.

​”So many millions and millions of people across this country have been doing the right thing,” he added. ”I want you to know that this Easter Sunday I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth.”

The British public had “formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our National Health Service”, he added.

He said that he had witnessed the pressure being placed upon NHS staff for himself while in hospital, adding: “I have seen the personal courage not just of the doctors and nurses but of everyone, the cleaners, the cooks, the health care workers of every description – physios, radiographers, pharmacists – who have kept coming to work, kept putting themselves in harm’s way, kept risking this deadly virus.

“It is thanks to that courage, that devotion, that duty and that love that our NHS has been unbeatable.”

Mr Johnson thanked the “utterly brilliant doctors... who took some crucial decisions a few days ago for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life”. He also paid tribute to nine further nursing staff - Po Ling, Shannon, Emily, Angel, Connie, Becky, Rachael, Nicky and Ann.

He ended his message by saying: “We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.

“So thank you from me, and from all of us, to the NHS, and let’s remember to follow the rules on social distancing. Stay at home, protect our NHS – and save lives. Thank you, and Happy Easter.”​

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