Week Ahead: A moment of thanks for NHS pandemic response as it turns 73

NHS celebrates anniversary, PM faces a grilling, a Da Vinci picture could take £12m and it is two decades since Bradford rioting. John Blow looks at the week ahead.

Maria Sole, four, dressed in a small nurses outfit holds up a rainbow drawing with the words 'Thank You' on it as NHS staff and members of the public take part in the weekly "Clap for Our Carers" event at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on May 28, 2020 in London. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.
Maria Sole, four, dressed in a small nurses outfit holds up a rainbow drawing with the words 'Thank You' on it as NHS staff and members of the public take part in the weekly "Clap for Our Carers" event at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital on May 28, 2020 in London. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

NHS anniversary

Gratitude will be shown towards the NHS on its 73rd anniversary after its staff helped steer the country through the coronavirus pandemic.

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In recognition of the wider sector’s role in helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, tomorrow is NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day.

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group (ICG) provider organisation, this week said: “To my own 140 amazing staff, to the thousands working across North Yorkshire and the hundreds of thousands up and down the country I say today, ‘a million times, thank you’.

“I feel at once proud to be part of the social care sector and at the same time humbled by the brave, selfless way keyworkers have responded to the pandemic.

“It has taken a heroic effort to go to work, either in care and nursing homes or to look after someone in their own home, with this cruel and frightening virus in our midst.

“Each and every one of them has put their own health and safety to one side to ensure that those who rely upon them for their care and quality of life do not go without.

“It is right that we celebrate those carers on Monday, alongside all other NHS and frontline workers who have fought relentlessly to get us through the pandemic. They have shed blood, sweat and tears as Covid-19 robbed the country of loved ones in care settings and have been left battered, bruised and emotionally drained.

“We aren’t through Covid-19 yet, but I hope that we very soon will be and we will then owe care workers, amongst others, a great debt of gratitude.”

A service of commemoration and thanksgiving will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Guests will include leading figures in the NHS’s pandemic response and several hundred members of frontline staff, patients and others involved in the response to Covid-19.

It will commemorate and celebrate the contribution to the country during the pandemic, of NHS staff, volunteers and carers, reflect on the achievements of the last 12 months, the part everyone has played and look ahead to the future of the NHS.

Johnson grilling

The Prime Minister is set to face a grilling on a range of current issues when he faces MPs on Wednesday.

Among those asking Boris Johnson about topics likely to include climate change and Covid-19 will be Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, while representatives are also

expected to focus on the Brexit fallout.

It comes after Mr Johnson appeared to previously call former Health Secretary Matt Hancock – who resigned after pictures of him kissing a colleague surfaced –“hopeless” in messages about the pandemic to his ex-Chief of Staff, Dominic Cummings.

Da Vinci auction

A Leonardo da Vinci drawing is due to be auctioned on Thursday.

The picture, titled Head Of A Bear, is expected to fetch between £8 million and £12 million. The Renaissance master’s piece is being sold by auction house Christie’s in London.

Riots 20 years on

It will be 20 years since the 2001 Bradford riots later this coming week.

Around 1,000 people were caught up in the violence in Manningham between July 7 and 9 after fighting outside a city centre pub between right-wing and Asian males – which led to two stabbings – while at least as many police, many of them in full riot gear, responded.

Shops, businesses and a BMW garage were targeted and destroyed. The Manningham Labour Club, with 23 people inside, was firebombed. More than 300 police were reported injured and almost as many people were arrested.