Minute’s silence to mark health and care worker sacrifices on pandemic anniversary, as 1 in 4 report having lost colleagues

On 2nd March 2022
Categories: 2022

We will be hosting a live-broadcasted remembrance event on 11th March 2022, the second anniversary of when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic, to reflect upon the incredible sacrifices of health and care staff. It will include a nationwide minute’s silence at 11am, which we are encouraging everyone to take part in.

The event will acknowledge the ongoing sacrifices of health and care workers who continue to put care for patients first, as well as reflecting on the impact of the pandemic for everyone. Since the pandemic began, many NHS staff have tragically lost their lives to the virus, with a new You Gov survey of over 1,000 NHS staff1 showing almost one in four (24%) have directly lost colleagues because of Covid-19 – including those who they have worked closely with.

Ongoing pressures on the service are adding to this strain, with more than two thirds reporting a mental health condition as a result of the pandemic and many experiencing depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder.2

The live-broadcasted service and one-minute silence at 11am – expected to be joined by colleagues across the country – will offer the opportunity for all health and care workers, as well as the general public, to reflect personally on the impact and losses of the pandemic and to say thank you. Staff will share personal readings and testimonies, and will be joined by patient representatives to lay blue heart wreaths as a symbol of gratitude and remembrance. There will also be a performance from Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital Choir.

The invite-only event will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire – the nation’s year-round place to remember, and a dedicated space to commemorate those who have given their lives in service.

Staff representing the nations and all areas of healthcare will attend – including ambulance, hospital, mental health, community, social care and primary care services. Senior representatives from the NHS and social care will also join the event, including Chief Nursing Officer for England Ruth May and Chief Nurse for Adult Social for England Care Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE.

Lord Nigel Crisp KCB, former NHS Chief Executive, will give an introduction to the live broadcast in his role as Patron for NHS Charities Together.

Lord Nigel Crisp KCB, Patron for NHS Charities Together, said: “Over the last two years health and social care workers have put duty and commitment to care for patients above their own needs, and we are so grateful. We mustn’t forget what it has taken for them to get us through this period – including those who tragically lost their own lives while caring for others. This event is a chance for us all to honour those sacrifices, to say thank you for everything they did and continue to do – and say that we won’t ever forget.”

Ruth May, NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “The last two years have been like no other and while this pandemic has taken a huge toll on the country as a whole, as I look back, I am eternally grateful and proud of our health and social care workforce – what they have achieved and what they have been through, and continue to go through to care for everyone who needs it.”

“I have seen them step up valiantly to the task that has faced them, supporting each other and with care for their patients remaining at the heart of what they do. That is why it is so important that we get together and reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on everyone.”

Further research3 also shows that, two years since the start of the pandemic, there’s still overwhelming public admiration for NHS staff, as more than three quarters of Britons (76%) agree that NHS staff have made incredible sacrifices to care for us, and almost two-thirds (62%) agree that NHS staff are undervalued by society3 – welcoming further recognition.

Click the button below to find out how to join the the live-broadcast remembrance event on 11th March at 10:45am.





  1. YouGov online survey of 1016 NHS employees in the UK, carried out online between 10-12 January 2022. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The figures have been weighted and are representative of NHS employees by occupational group.
  2. YouGov online survey of 1008 NHS employees in the UK, carried out online between 12-17 August 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all NHS employees by occupational group.
  3. YouGov online survey of 2132 UK adults, carried out online between 13-14 January 2022. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

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