Coronavirus: UK should have new bank holiday to celebrate NHS workers, think tank suggests

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
Staff join in the applause at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers initiative to recognise and support NHS workers and carers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff join in the applause at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers to support NHS workers. (PA)

A new bank holiday that celebrates the work done by the NHS should be introduced from next year, according to a think tank.

The proposal, which The Sun says is backed by two thirds of the country, would see an extra day off for Britons in 2021, in honour of the frontline staff battling coronavirus.

The idea, suggested by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank in its report Care Fit For Carers, is also being backed by medical, nursing and care leaders.

Staff put a sign on the windshield in support of the NHS at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers initiative to recognise and support NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff put a sign on the windshield in support of the NHS at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. (PA)

Britons currently come together at 8pm every Thursday to applaud the NHS in the Clap for Carers campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are eight bank holidays a year in England and Wales, while Scotland has nine and Northern Ireland has 10.

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The report also suggests giving NHS staff a 10% bonus, that could be worth up to £3,000 for a newly qualified nurse.

Its author Chris Thomas said: “Our care heroes are making significant sacrifices to pull our country through this crisis.

“It is imperative the government does not allow their efforts to become a modern Charge of the Light Brigade.”

The weekly applause for NHS workers was met with some controversy last week after the country's most senior police officer was filmed clapping for carers on a crowded Westminster Bridge.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick led dozens of officers in the weekly applause for key workers at 8pm on Thursday.

A video posted to the force's Twitter account shows her standing in front of officers, who are lined up with gaps in front of police vehicles along the bridge near parliament.

But the gesture drew criticism from some after another video, which has been viewed millions of times online, emerged showing groups of people, near police officers, apparently ignoring social distancing guidance.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "We would ask that everyone takes responsibility and adheres to social distancing rules so that we can safely show our appreciation for those who are working so hard to fight coronavirus.”

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