A minute’s silence is to be held to pay respect to the sacrifices made by health and social care workers on the second anniversary of coronavirus being declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
NHS Charities Together will hold a remembrance service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Friday, which will be broadcast live and will feature representatives from the social sector and NHS.
The charity says the event, which will include a minute’s silence at 11am, will be an opportunity to “reflect on the impact of the pandemic for everyone, as well as wider ongoing loss being felt across the world”.
Fliss Pass, an acute oncology clinical nurse specialist who is to speak at the event, said: “As healthcare professionals, over the last two years, we have often found ourselves in impossible situations.
“I still can’t imagine the pain it caused families to lose their loved ones in this way.
“Afterwards, we would be left alone with our patients at the end – sometimes the only person who could stay by their side and hold their hand as they died.
“As nurses we are used to people dying and talking about death, but the pandemic broke me.”
The Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital Choir and opera singer Rhys Meirion will to perform at the event.
Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “NHS and social care staff have given so much over the last two years, working with dedication and commitment to care for us all, and tragically many have lost their lives in this service.
A YouGov survey of more than 1,000 NHS employees in the UK, carried out in January, found that almost one in four (24%) had directly lost colleagues because of the virus.
The anniversary of the declaration of a pandemic comes as the WHO reported that the number of new coronavirus cases had decreased by 15% in Europe between February 28 and March 6 2022.