Social media users are being encouraged to add a blue heart to their name on Twitter as a mark of support for NHS staff.
The initiative comes amid reports of abuse to some NHS workers who have been targeted by a minority online for expressing how bad the situation in London hospitals has become as Covid-19 cases continue to soar.
Twitter users have been used to add a blue heart emoji to their name and add the hashtag #NHSblueheart to their profile as a show of support to healthcare workers.
NHS millions, a group which supports the work of the NHS, launched the initiative as a way to allow people to stand by those working on the frontline.
In a tweet, the group wrote: “We are devastated by the abuse NHS staff are getting on Twitter. Staff need your support now more than ever. If you stand with the NHS and its staff please you will help turn Twitter blue and pop an #NHSblueheart on your name on your profile.
“Let’s get this trending, pls RT!”
The move has already proved to be popular now, with the hashtag trending at number one in the UK on Twitter.
It appears that the call for support was originated by Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, an NHS senior intensive care registrar, who has been urging people to stand with the NHS.
In a tweet, she said: “We are devastated by the abuse NHS staff are getting on Twitter. Staff need your support now more than ever.
“If you stand with the NHS and its staff please you will help turn Twitter blue and pop an #NHSblueheart on your name on your profile. Let’s get this trending!”
Clap for Heroes
As well as showing support on social media, people are once again being encouraged to take part in the weekly Clap for Heroes campaign, which launched last week (7 January).
During the first national lockdown, people across the UK took part in the weekly Clap for Carers, which saw thousands stand on their doorsteps every Thursday night to thank people for their hard work.
This time, the campaign will not only pay tribute to NHS and care staff, and key workers, but will also acknowledge “every hero who has played their part through the pandemic”.
The weekly clap will take place at 8pm every Thursday in honour of everyone who has been affected by the pandemic.