International Nurses' Day - politicians lend their support
Published: 12 May 2009
The Royal College of Nursing has received numerous messages of support from politicians across the UK in recognition of International Nurses' Day.
Nurses' Day is celebrated on 12 May each year, as a tribute to the amazing work of Florence Nightingale who was born on that day in 1820. Celebrating Nurses' Day is an opportunity for everyone around the world to remember the valuable contributions that nurses make to society. Events are taking place all across the country and nurses are encouraged to send an eCard to their colleagues to celebrate the day and recognise the hard work undertaken by all nurses.
Some of the messages the RCN received from across the UK:
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister:
"No-one should be in any doubt that nothing could change for the better in the NHS without the commitment, the hard work and the passion of its nurses - sharing good news, breaking bad news, comforting us, reassuring us, easing short term stays in hospital and helping people learn to live with long-term illness.
You make the difference between life and death, between fear and comfort, between giving in and going on.
I have seen nurses helping older people to maintain their dignity in hospital.
And I have seen how young people suffering from diseases that cannot be cured can still be comforted.
At all those points of trauma and transition, we need nurses -- and you are there.
So I thank you for what you have done to come to the aid of every family in our country - and mine is one of the many who simply could not have made it through without you. I am delighted to send you my very best wishes for Nurses' Day."
Peter Robinson MP, MLA, Democratic Unionist Party Leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland:
"I would like to offer my full support for Nurses' Day as it gives us all an opportunity to voice our thanks for the care and dedication given by our nursing staff. Unfortunately nurses, whether working in hospitals or in the community are often the victims of assault or harassment. Nurses' Day gives us the chance to stand with nurses and through supporting nurses we support the vulnerable and needy in our society who benefit most from the work of our medical professionals."
Professor Ann Keen MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Health:
"What unites us all is a determination to do the best we can for the people we care for, and to keep the Florence Nightingale spirit alive, in the service of patients."
Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats:
"International Nurses' Day is a real opportunity for us to thank nurses for their work - and reflect how much we need them. We as politicians must all recognise their vast contribution to the NHS and respond accordingly."
David Cameron MP, Leader of the Conservative Party:
"In so many ways nurses are the NHS. I have seen at first hand the incredible job they do, often under difficult circumstances. This day is a way of highlighting the high regard the nation has for the profession - and its gratitude for nurses' work, their range of expertise, and the care that they give. The role of nurses is vital and, whether in hospitals or the community, everyone can be proud of the contribution they have made and continue to make to the NHS."
Sir Michael Parkinson, Department of Health National Dignity Ambassador:
"On this special day, I would like to offer my best wishes to nurses for their vital contribution in caring for those in need."
Sir Reg Empey MLA (Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party):
"Nurses have always been both the backbone and the frontline troops of the National Health Service. Without them there simply wouldn't be a health service to speak of."
Dr Margaret McGuire, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, Scottish Government:
"I am particularly pleased to have this opportunity to formally recognise the impact that all nurses have on ensuring continued high standards and quality of care, across all sectors, for the people of Scotland."
Gerry Adams MLA, MP, Sinn Fein Leader:
"Nurses provide invaluable services to the public, often over and above their contracted conditions, and indeed as most will agree, are the backbone of health service."
Nick Bourne AM, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly for Wales:
"Our nurses are always there when we need them and they highly deserve this day of recognition."
Read more messages in Show your support for Nurses' Day.