England’s top doctor and chief nurse become a dame and a knight

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Two of the most senior figures in the NHS have become a knight and a dame.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director since 2018 and a doctor for 25 years, has been knighted for services to the NHS, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief nursing officer Ruth May, the lead for the nursing, midwifery and care professions in England, has been given a damehood for services to nursing, midwifery and the NHS over the last 37 years, after becoming a nurse in 1985.

Pandemic anniversary
Dame Ruth May lays a wreath during a pandemic anniversary remembrance event (Martin Rickett/PA)

They are joined by a number of NHS staff, including GPs, nurses and midwives, who have been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sir Stephen said: “I am truly honoured to be recognised with this award. It reflects the passion, focus and sheer determination of NHS staff during the pandemic, as we tackled the biggest health threat of a generation.

“That dedication continues as teams across the NHS address the backlogs that have built up, in the most ambitious catch-up plan in NHS history.

“It is an enormous privilege to work alongside so many staff and volunteers who have repeatedly gone over and above to make sure others are cared for and protected.”

“The last two years have been incredibly challenging for our professions and I am grateful for the role that nurses, midwives and care staff have played during the pandemic.

“While I have always known how remarkable our health and care professions are, the pandemic has shone an even brighter light on their extraordinary work.

“I have never been prouder to be a nurse and choosing to dedicate my career to working in the NHS has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

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