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."
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."