The CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF), Professor Greta Westwood CBE, has returned to the NHS frontline once again this week. She is also appealing to all nurses and midwives, those who have retired or stopped practising, to help the NHS in this hour of need in anyway they are able to.

Professor Westwood previously returned to the NHS frontline at the start of the pandemic last May, and saw first-hand how nurses and midwives were stretched beyond their limit, dealing with a pandemic they and the world knew little about. FNF launched its own Nightingale Frontline: Leadership Support Service, in response to frontline nurses and midwives desperately needing emotional and wellbeing support to help them the cope with the extreme demands of nursing in a pandemic. Professor Westwood will now be helping with the mammoth task of vaccinating staff and patients as the NHS delivers the largest vaccination programme ever seen.

Dr Gemma Stacey, Director of the FNF Academy and a mental health nurse, will also become a vaccinator.  The government aims to offer vaccines to 15 million people – over-70s, NHS and healthcare workers and those who need to shield – by mid-February and millions more by spring 2021. By autumn, the remaining adult population, another 21 million people, will be offered a vaccine.

Professor Greta Westwood, CEO of the Florence Nightingale Foundation said: “Following my support to frontline nurses and midwives at the start of the pandemic I now feel it is my duty as a Registered Nurse to help with the COVID-19 vaccination programme and to encourage all nurses and midwives to also help in anyway they can. Gemma and I feel it is our collective duty to help the NHS throughout the pandemic. The pressure on the healthcare system is immense and as a nurse it is my calling to help this national crisis and so support the NHS. The vaccination programme will protect our society and I want to help so that families do not have to suffer the unbearable loss of a loved one due to COVID-19. FNF is a charity for nurses, run by nurses and we must lead by example.”

“I am calling on all nurses and midwives now to help with this herculean effort – nurses who have retired, nurses who are on sabbatical, nurses who have left the frontline – please return and help those who need it the most. Get in touch with your local hospital or healthcare provider and offer your services to see how you can help. By coming together, we will help to fight this terrible disease. I believe that once you become a nurse, that sense of duty to help others never leaves you. Please step forward now”

The Foundation will also be launching the second phase of the Nightingale Frontline: Leadership Support Service fundraising campaign asking members of the public to donate to the fund. All money raised will go towards supporting nurses and midwives working on the frontline of COVID-19 and beyond.

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