Pandemic health heroes rewarded in New Years Honours list

Health heroes are to be honoured by the Queen for their role in the fight against Covid-19.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance pictured with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance pictured with Prime Minister Boris Johnson

National figures, as well as local leaders in Yorkshire, are among the names on the New Years Honours list.

England’s chief medical officer (CMO), Professor Chris Whitty, deputy CMO, Jonathan Van-Tam, and Wales’ and Scotland’s CMOs, Frank Atherton and Dr Gregor Smith, have been given knighthoods.

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There are also damehoods for UK Health Security Agency chief Dr Jenny Harries, and Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after a year in which the threat of new variants arose and more than 130 million vaccinations were administered.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who was originally knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours list, is elevated to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Scientists and medics have become household names since the pandemic began, regularly leading press conferences from Downing Street alongside the Prime Minister abnd other

Government officials, as well as appearing in television and print campaigns.

They are now being recognised for their services to public health and science.

Sir Patrick said: “I am really pleased to see so many outstanding scientists and engineers recognised in this year’s honours, including those that have been working tirelessly as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

And the MHRA chief, Dame June, said: “I am enormously honoured by this recognition of the substantial contribution which the MHRA has made to the nation’s response to Covid-19 over the last two years.

“This is thanks to the dedication and commitment of all our talented staff, who work so tirelessly to make sure vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices are safe and effective for people across the UK.”

After the second year that has faced major disruption as a result of the pandemic, there is also recognition for a host of Yorkshire coronavirus figureheads.

Dr Julian Peter Mark, Executive Medical Director of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, is awarded the Queen’s Amublance Service Medal.

Dr Amar Nath Rughani, General Practitioner and Provost, Royal College of General Practitioners, South Yorkshire and North Trent, is awarded an MBE for services to General Practice.

And Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire, Alison Lowe, is made an OBE for services to Mental Health and Wellbeing during Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world.

“The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution.”