While the world has been holding still and remains uncertain about its future, our NHS has responded heroically to the invisible threat of coronavirus.
With an immeasurable sense of duty, care and resilience, doctors, nurses, ambulance crews, care workers and support staff have taken to the pandemic frontline often with little more than a mask between themselves and the deadly virus.
For too long, these heroes have been taken for granted and, too readily, overlooked.
They could have been forgiven for holding back and acting with far greater caution. But, our NHS doesn’t stand back when people are suffering and dying. It puts patients first.
Its response to COVID-19 has been immediate, nothing short of magnificent, and humbling.
As they always have, when we needed them, they responded. They were there for us. They continue to be there for us.
Their selfless attitude is always — ‘Not on our watch. Not on our shift. We’re just doing our job’.
The Thursday night clapping may have come to an end, but let’s hope our public show of gratitude and appreciation is also recognised in more tangible ways.
That means higher rates of pay, improved working conditions and benefits and greater opportunities for career advancement must be at the top of the agenda when the NHS Pay Review Body meets next.
We have a duty, now more than ever, to ensure our NHS is given proper recognition and reward to the more than one million workers who are always there for us when we need them most.
When this episode in our history is behind us, as it surely will be, let’s not forget the vital role our NHS has played and the massive debt owed to our new masked heroes.