“I am full of admiration and respect for anyone who dedicates their life to helping others,” said This Morning’s Holly Willoughby.
Since then, a new documentary, Under The Knife – which investigates the Conservatives’ “suspicious” relationship with the NHS in great detail – has been announced. And now Holly Willoughby – presenter of ITV’s This Morning – has thrown her support behind the UK’s health service with an emotive post on social media.
Sharing an NHS recruitment video with her Instagram followers, Willoughby wrote: “When you need them, [the NHS is] always there.”
The TV presenter continued: “I am full of admiration and respect for anyone who dedicates their life to helping others.
“Thank you to all of our incredible NHS nurses, we are so lucky to have you… [and remember, this is just] some of the incredibly brilliant work our NHS nurses do for patients every day.”
Willoughby’s post clearly struck a chord with many: it has been shared almost 300,000 times in less than 24 hours, and attracted hundreds of comments, too.
“Brilliant service that everyone takes for granted,” wrote one.
“We cannot lose this great service,” added another.
And still one more said: “They are amazing, but there are a staggering 40,000 nursing vacancies in England. These huge gaps mean care is left undone… it isn’t fair on staff and it isn’t safe for patients.”
Earlier this week, the prime minister was confronted at a hospital by Omar Salem, who informed him that the NHS is being “destroyed” under Conservative leadership.
In a powerful exchange lasting almost two minutes, Salem informed the PM: “My daughter nearly died yesterday. The A&E guys were great, but we then came down to this ward here. It took us two hours [for my seven-day-old daughter to be seen].
“That’s just not acceptable. This ward is not safe for children. There was one registrar covering the entirety of this ward and the neonatal unit… [and] there are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there’s not enough nurses, it’s not well organised enough.
“The NHS has been destroyed.”
Since the incident went viral, some have pointed out that Salem describes himself as a “Labour activist campaigning against Brexit and for a socialist Europe” on his Twitter profile.
Responding to claims that Salem was a “Labour plant”, then, Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby tweeted: “Yes Omar Salem is a Labour activist but much more importantly, he’s the father of a seven day old baby who is desperately concerned about lack of staff available to care for his daughter. He has every right to criticise Johnson’s shameless use of the NHS as a photo-opportunity.”
Salem added: “My Labour values are why I back proper support for the NHS. I am not ashamed of them.”
A Royal College of Nursing spokesman has since praised Salem’s actions, saying: “Just hours after nursing staff pulled back the curtain on dire shortages across the country, the public is following our request for them to speak up.
“This is not comfortable for anybody but it’s a frank conversation the public and politicians need to have and will be a big issue in any forthcoming election. Today’s example is a warning to all parties that they need to have clear and meaningful answers on how they’ll resolve this crisis.”
The PM has also said that he is “glad” Salem confronted him.
“I’ve been PM for 57 days, part of my job is to talk to people on the ground and listen to what they tell me about the big problems,” he tweeted.
“It doesn’t matter if they agree with me. I’m glad this gentleman told me his problems. This isn’t an embarrassment this is part of my job.”
Worried about the NHS? Here, Stylist has rounded up six ways you can support the UK’s National Health Service, which includes advice on how to write to your local MP and demand action, and where best to volunteer.
In the words of a quote often mistakenly attributed to Nye Bevan, the health minister who oversaw the health service’s creation: “The NHS will last as long as there’s folk with faith left to fight for it.”