The Queen in the United Kingdom has given the country's highest possible award for civilians to its National Health Service (NHS). The Queen gave the NHS a George Cross. This is a special medal for heroism and bravery. The award was given because of the heroic efforts doctors, nurses and care staff made during the coronavirus pandemic. The Queen hand wrote a personal message to the NHS. She said she gave the award "with great pleasure, on behalf of a grateful nation". She added: "This award recognises all NHS staff....Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication."
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Many workers in the NHS are happy that they have been recognised by the Queen for their services. However, many others said they would prefer a pay rise. The NHS has been on the front line in the fight against COVID-19 in the UK. There has been great public support for a pay rise for nurses, but the government only gave them a 1% increase. There were over 60 protests in the UK over the weekend for better pay and conditions. A doctor said: "We demand funding for a safe NHS, fair pay and respect for staff." A workers' union leader said: "The best way to show appreciation for health workers who have gone 'above and beyond' is to give them a decent pay rise, urgently."