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PDA Union welcomes award of George Cross to NHS employees

NHS pharmacists are among those honored by HM Queen for their service during the pandemic.

Mon 5th July 2021 The PDA

The PDA union paid its own tribute to NHS employees, including pharmacists, whose service during the pandemic has been recognised through the award of the George Cross Medal, the United Kingdom’s highest award for gallantry in a non-military setting.

In a handwritten note on the 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, HM Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to all NHS staff, past and present and in all disciplines, who have “supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service”.

This is only the third time the George Cross Medal has been awarded collectively to a group of people and with only 409 individuals receiving the honour since its inception in 1940. This is clearly an important award that demonstrates the position the NHS and all its employees hold in the hearts of the people of this country. The award has equal value with the Victoria Cross, the highest award for “the most conspicuous bravery… the presence of an enemy.” Therefore, in terms of recognising the bravery of all NHS staff, it is the highest possible award in the UK.

The award of the George Cross reinforces the support the public has shown to NHS workers throughout the last 15 months, not just by clapping on their doorsteps, but by continuing to fly messages of support from homes, businesses, and vehicles.

The PDA Union has of course been calling for this public recognition to be matched by the UK Government when deciding on a pay increase for the NHS. We echo the sentiment that NHS-employed Pharmacists, alongside all NHS workers, have demonstrated the highest standards of public service and are pleased this has been recognised.

Paul Moloney, PDA Union National Officer, commented:

“Whilst we do not want to directly link this honour with calls for an increase in pay, we know our members deserve a pay increase too. The award is explicitly for NHS workers across all disciplines and in all four nations. We therefore call on the UK Government to follow the spirit of this award and treat NHS workers across all four nations equally regarding pay. This means applying at least the 4% increase agreed in Scotland for most NHS workers, and backdated to December 2020, across the whole NHS in every part of the UK as a further recognition of the exceptional commitment, professionalism and bravery shown by everyone in the NHS during these unprecedented times”.

The Westminster government also remains the only one of the four UK nations which have also not yet given a one-off financial reward to NHS workers for their efforts during the pandemic during 2020.

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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