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Boris Johnson says ‘unconquerable’ NHS saved his life as he is discharged from hospital to recover from coronavirus

Boris Johnson has been discharged from hospital.

5 min read

Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the “unconquerable” National Health Service as he was discharged from hospital to recuperate from the coronavirus.

In an emotional statement, the Prime Minister said the NHS had “saved my life, no question”, as he heaped praise on frontline staff who saw him pull through a stint in intensive care at St Thomas’s hospital.

Downing Street on Sunday announced that Mr Johnson would “continue his recovery” at his official country residence after being discharged from the south London facility, two days after being taken out of intensive care.

His fiancée Carrie Symonds meanwhile said Mr Johnson had faced a “very dark” time as she paid tribute to “magnificent” NHS staff.

Downing Street said: “The PM has been discharged from hospital to continue his recovery, at Chequers.

“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work. He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.

“All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness.”

In his first statement since being admitted to intensive care at the start of this week, Mr Johnson said: “I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question.”

And he said efforts to fight the coronavirus - “a fight we never picked against an enemy we still don’t entirely understand” - were working “because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset, our National Health Service”.

“It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love" - Boris Johnson on the NHS

He said: “In the last seven days I have of course seen the pressure that the NHS is under. 

“I have seen the personal courage not just of the doctors and nurses but of everyone, the cleaners, the cooks, the healthcare workers of every description, physios, radiographers, pharmacists - who have kept coming to work, kept putting themselves in harm’s way, kept risking this deadly virus.

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

The Prime Minister said he would be “grateful for the rest of my life” to “utterly brilliant” doctors who had take “crucial decisions a few days ago for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life”.

And he singled out “two nurses who stood by my bedside when things could have gone either way” - Jenny from New Zealand, and Luis from Portugal.

“And the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for everyone second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed,” he said of the pair.

“So that is how I also know that across this country, 24 hours a day, for every second of every hour, there are hundreds of thousands NHS staff who are dancing with the same care and thought and precision as Jenny and Luis.”

Mr Johnson added: “That is why we will defeat this coronavirus and defeat it together.

“We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. 

“It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.”

The Tory leader was first admitted to St Thomas’s hospital last weekend after struggling to shake off the virus, and was placed in intensive care after his condition worsened.

He was moved from the intensive care unit on Thursday night and placed on a ward.


Responding to news of the PM’s discharge from hospital, his fiancée Ms Symonds, who is carrying the couple’s first child, said: “I cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough. The staff at St Thomas’ Hospital have been incredible. I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.”

She added: “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.”

And, speaking at the Government’s daily press conference, Health Secretary Matt Hancock - who was himself forced into self-isolation after being diagnosed with the illness - said: “It is great news that the PM has been discharged from hospital and is now continuing at Chequers.”

The Cabinet minister added: “I hope everyone has seen his message of love, and thanks to all those who've supported his recovery and to the NHS colleagues who have cared for him so brilliantly at St Thomas' hospital. 

“I know that they have cared for him as they would care for anybody in this country. And it is one of the things that makes me so proud that the NHS is there for us all and can give its very best to every single person and has been able to throughout this crisis.”

Chequers, located in Buckinghamshire, is the official country house of the Prime Minister, and the move means the Prime Minister will be far removed from the Government’s base in Whitehall.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for the PM in his absence, and has chaired daily meetings of the Covid-19 committee leading the response to the outbreak.


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