If you give the NHS a tough task, we'll get it done

Chris Hopson profile picture

14 February 2021

Chris Hopson
Chief Executive
NHS Providers

There hasn't been much to cheer about during this terrible pandemic, but one thing we can celebrate is the success of the UK's vaccination programme.

When 90-year-old grandma Margaret Keenan got her first jab on 8 December last year, who'd have thought that by Valentine's Day, we'd be so close to reaching our ambitious target of vaccinating all health and care workers, everyone over 70, and the most clinically vulnerable by mid February?

That's over 14 million people across the UK who are better protected against this devastating virus in just 10 short weeks.

I've been struck by how much joy and relief this process has brought to those doing the vaccinations and those receiving them. A GP told me today that nothing had given him greater pleasure in his long career.

None of this would have been possible without the thousands of hardworking NHS staff and fantastic volunteers, who have played their part in immunising so many people, so quickly.

Working in the health service this past year has been really hard and our staff have been tested like never before.

But it goes to show: if you give the NHS a tough task, we'll get it done.

There have been bumps in the road. We've faced challenges and we'll face more. The unevenness of vaccine supply arriving with the NHS remains a concern. The decision to delay the second dose at such short notice – even though it was the right call - caused a lot of disruption. And if we're going to give COVID-19 booster shots every year, we need to think about how NHS staff deliver this alongside their day-to-day jobs.

But there's a quiet pride and satisfaction in the NHS that, once again, when the nation needed us most, we delivered.

This article was first published in the Express newspaper.

About the author

Chris Hopson profile picture

Chris Hopson
Chief Executive

Chris Hopson is the chief executive of NHS Providers. He joined in September 2012 after a career in politics, commercial television and the civil service. Read more

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