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Shining a light for Cheshire's nurses

Health and care leaders are encouraging the people of Cheshire to "shine a light" to mark International Nurses Day to recognise the extraordinary work that nurses are doing in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tuesday, May 12th 2020 marks International Nurses Day on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing and pioneered infection control – but is also famous for her lamp.

Activity planned locally to mark the day includes the lighting up of Chester’s famous Eastgate Clock.

Paula Wedd (pictured), NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Executive Director of Quality, Patient Experience and Safeguarding, said: "I welcome International Nurses Day as an opportunity for us all to reflect on the outstanding care provided by our nursing colleagues across health and care services, not only during the coronavirus crisis but at all times. Their energy and commitment to the wellbeing of others is remarkable."

Nationally, thousands of former nurses have come out of retirement to help the NHS with the greatest health emergency in its history.

Among the local nurses supporting the response to COVID-19 are NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Head of Clinical Quality, Julia Curtis, and Senior Clinical Quality Manager Katie Mills.

Julia, a student nurse in Sheffield at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, paid tribute to Cheshire’s nurses for rising to the challenge.

"We are in a pandemic that will continue to have a significant impact on all of our lives for some time,” she said. “Cheshire’s frontline teams have shown great resilience, courage and commitment in caring for some of the most vulnerable members of our community."

Katie urged people to continue using NHS services during the pandemic and stressed the importance of children’s healthcare.

"I am passionate about the importance of childhood immunisations against diseases like measles, mumps and rubella," she said. "At a time when the public needs our help to keep their families safe, we will ensure that this important work is prioritised and delivered in a way that is accessible and effective."

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Louise Gittins said: "Our nurses are carrying out extraordinary work, especially during the pandemic and we are all so proud of the work they are doing to help save lives.

"Lighting up Eastgate Clock this Tuesday to mark International Nurses’ Day and on Thursday, alongside the clap for carers, is just one small act to show the council’s support for our nurses. I want to say thank you as they are all doing an amazing job in such challenging times."