Boris Johnson praises NHS medics from Portugal and New Zealand who ‘saved his life’

PUBLISHED: 09:57 13 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:02 13 April 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he speaks from 10 Downing Street praising NHS staff in a video message for saving his life as he was discharged from hospital a week after being admitted with persistent coronavirus symptoms. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he speaks from 10 Downing Street praising NHS staff in a video message for saving his life as he was discharged from hospital a week after being admitted with persistent coronavirus symptoms. Photograph: Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the NHS and praised the medics from New Zealand and Portugal who he said had saved his life.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.

The prime minister said he had personally “seen the pressure the NHS is under” and listed the essential staff including cleaners, cooks and all healthcare workers who he said had shown “personal courage” by continuing to work and “risking this deadly virus”.

He said: “It is thanks to that courage, that devotion, that duty and that love that our NHS has been unbeatable.”

The Conservative Party leader mentioned by name the medics who had looked after him, particularly “two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way”.

Naming them as Jenny from Invercargill on New Zealand’s South Island and Luis from Portugal, near Porto, Johnson gave an insight into just how serious things had become at one stage.


Have your say

Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.


He said: “The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”

Shortly after news of his release, Ms Symonds had tweeted to pay tribute to the “magnificent NHS”.

She said: “I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.

“There were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.

“Thank you also to everyone who sent such kind messages of support. Today I’m feeling incredibly lucky.”

One of the nurses was laten identified as Jenny McGee.

Speaking to Television New Zealand, her mother Caroline McGee said: “It makes us feel exceptionally proud obviously.

“But she has told us these things over the years and it doesn’t matter what patient she is looking after, this is what she does.”

She added: “I just find it incredible that she, any nurses, can do this for 12 hours, sit and watch a patient and twiddle away with all the different knobs and things they do to keep their patients alive, it’s absolutely amazing.”

The other nurse - Luis from Portugal, near Porto - has been named as Luis Pitarma and has been thanked by Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

A statement on the presidential website said: “President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has already personally thanked the nurse Luis Pitarma, and... also thanks the commitment of all Portuguese health professionals who in Portugal and around the world are providing decisive help in the fight to the pandemic.”

The statement added that the president offered “encouragement that is also addressed to professionals of other nationalities who, reinforcing the National Health Service, provide an invaluable service to Portugal”.

Johnson is now recuperating at his official country retreat of Chequers, a 16th century Buckinghamshire mansion, following the seven-night spell in hospital.

Become a Supporter

Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.