The Queen presented the George Cross to NHS Wales Chief Executive Judith Paget and Intensive Care Consultant Dr Ami Jones at a ceremony in Windsor Castle today (12 July).
They received the award on behalf of the entire team of NHS Wales workers - the nurses, doctors, cleaners, paramedics, porters, therapists - in recognition of their courage, compassion and skill.
The Queen was accompanied by the Prince of Wales for the presentation.
Judith Paget said:
I’m honoured to join Dr Jones to accept the George Cross on behalf of the NHS in Wales.
It is the UK’s highest civilian gallantry medal which recognises the dedicated service shown by the NHS since it was set up 74 years ago including the great courage, devotion and duty that staff displayed during the pandemic.
I saw the bravery of the staff who are the heartbeat of the NHS in caring for our friends and family at first hand. This is a great honour and a great day for all who work and who have worked for the NHS in Wales.
Dr Ami Jones, Intensive Care Consultant at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:
It gives me enormous pride to join Judith in representing all staff across NHS Wales to accept the George Cross medal.
As someone who serves in the Military, I appreciate that only the very best receive this medal and our amazing NHS staff are certainly worthy recipients.
Our staff would have never imagined that such a daunting pandemic would take place in their lifetimes, but they put their own fears aside to provide excellent care to their patients and find solutions to the unprecedented problems that they faced on a daily basis.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
This is a moment that all NHS staff in Wales can be extremely proud of for their dedication to providing health services in the toughest of circumstances.
From the birth of the NHS in Tredegar 74 years ago, NHS Wales staff have always been there to treat, care and help us and our families at our times of greatest need.
When they were faced with the biggest public health threat in our lifetime at the start of the pandemic they stepped up with great courage and expertise which I’m delighted has been recognised with the awarding of the George Cross.