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PM thanks NHS staff for his life-saving care with special mention for two medics

Last updated on April 13, 2020

The NHS hero who saved Boris Johnson’s life and stood by his bedside when things could have gone ‘either way’ has been pictured this evening.

The Prime Minister spent the last week in St Thomas’s Hospital – including three nights in intensive care – being treated for the virus.

Shortly after he was discharged, Mr Johnson released a video thanking the medical professionals who aided his recovery, and reserved special praise for Luis from Portugal and Jenny from New Zealand.

MailOnline can reveal that senior staff nurse Luis Pitarma and ward sister Jenny McGee are the medical professional who cared for the Prime Minister as he battled the virus.

The 29-year-old, born in Aveiro, just 50 kilometres from Porto, is thought to have moved to London in 2014 after completing his medical qualifications in Lisbon.

MailOnline can reveal that senior staff nurse Luis Pitarma, is the medical professional who cared for the Prime Minister as he battled the virus

MailOnline can reveal that senior staff nurse Luis Pitarma, is the medical professional who cared for the Prime Minister as he battled the virus

The medic was thanked today by the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in a telephone call.

His firefighter cousin Ivo Pitarma, who lives in Aveiro, said: ‘I’m obviously very proud.

‘I knew of course that Luis was a nurse in London but had no idea he had been looking after Boris Johnson so this has come as a real surprise for me.’

Luis worked as a staff nurse at Luton and Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for two years, caring for pre and post surgical patients, before moving to London and becoming an ICU staff nurse.

In the video message posted this afternoon, Mr Johnson praised both medics, for his life-saving care.

Mr Johnson's video message from inside no 10 this afternoon, after he was discharged from hospital

Mr Johnson's video message from inside no 10 this afternoon, after he was discharged from hospital

Mr Johnson’s video message from inside no 10 this afternoon, after he was discharged from hospital

He said: ‘The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.’

As the PM’s recovery provided a flicker of good news during an unprecedented Easter under lockdown:

  • Boris Johnson’s half brother Max, 35, slammed the care his elder sibling received in Downing Street when self-isolating as a ‘shambles’; 
  • Actor and comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor died aged 79 after contracting coronavirus;
  • Ex-Bank of England governor Lord King said some schools and business should reopen;
  • Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said Britain could record more deaths than any other European countries; 
  • Some Britons flouted lockdown rules and were seen soaking up the sun in the nation’s parks; 
  • Health Secretary Hancock said he did not have any update on how many NHS staff had died following the 19 he confirmed on Saturday;
  • The Queen stressed the importance of maintaining the coronavirus lockdown, but insisted: ‘Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever’. 

Mr Johnson also thanked a larger group of nurses in the video released this afternoon, he said: ‘I am going to forget some names, so forgive me, but I want to thank Po Ling and Shannon and Emily and Angel and Connie and Becky and Rachael and Nicky and Ann.

It was previously revealed that one of the doctors overseeing Mr Johnson’s care was leading lung specialist Dr Richard Leach, a senior clinician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

Dr Leach has worked at the central London hospital trust since 1994, and at King Edward VII Hospital since 2016.

His encyclopedic knowledge of the respiratory system has even been laid down in five leading textbooks.

Dr Richard Leach, senior clinician at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, is responsible for the Prime Minister's coronavirus recovery and had been at his bedside

Dr Richard Leach, senior clinician at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, is responsible for the Prime Minister's coronavirus recovery and had been at his bedside

Dr Richard Leach, senior clinician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, is responsible for the Prime Minister’s coronavirus recovery and had been at his bedside

While Dr Leach had reportedly assumed ultimate responsibility over Mr Johnson’s treatment, hospital sources warned against exaggerating how hands-on a role he was playing.

Another medical professional thought to be overseeing the Prime Minister while he spent time at the hospital was Dr Luigi Camporota, a consultant in intensive care medicine.

Just last week, Dr Camporota, held a seminar explaining to other hospitals the best way to attach a coronavirus patient to a ventilator

In a tweet following her fiance’s release from hospital, Carrie Symonds said there had been some ‘very dark’ times in the past week.

The PM, who was wearing a suit, will not be returning to work immediately on doctors’ orders, instead recuperating at Chequers, his country residence in Buckinghamshire.

In the video footage he also said the NHS would be ‘unconquerable’ in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another medical professional thought to be overseeing the Prime Minister while he spent time at the hospital was Dr Luigi Camporota, a consultant in intensive care medicine

Another medical professional thought to be overseeing the Prime Minister while he spent time at the hospital was Dr Luigi Camporota, a consultant in intensive care medicine

Another medical professional thought to be overseeing the Prime Minister while he spent time at the hospital was Dr Luigi Camporota, a consultant in intensive care medicine

He said: ‘I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question.

‘It’s hard to find the words to express my debt – but before I come to that, I want to thank everyone in the entire UK for the effort and the sacrifice you have made and are making.’

He thanked people for continuing to socially distance and to self-isolate, saying: ‘I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth.’

While he said the ‘the struggle is by no means over’, he appeared to offer some hope by adding that progress is being made.

He said: ‘We are making progress in this national battle because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our National Health Service.’

Mr Johnson said he had personally ‘seen the pressure the NHS is under’ and listed the essential staff including cleaners, cooks and all healthcare workers who he said had shown ‘personal courage’ by continuing to work and ‘risking this deadly virus’.

His pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds tweeted her praise for staff at St Thomas's Hospital, adding: 'There were times last week that were very dark indeed

His pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds tweeted her praise for staff at St Thomas's Hospital, adding: 'There were times last week that were very dark indeed

His pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds tweeted her praise for staff at St Thomas’s Hospital, adding: ‘There were times last week that were very dark indeed

He said: ‘It is thanks to that courage, that devotion, that duty and that love that our NHS has been unbeatable.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the PM’s recovery was ‘great news’ but added: ‘The fact that over 10,000 people have now lost their lives to this invisible killer demonstrates just how serious coronavirus is and why the national effort that everyone in engaged in is so important.’

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth was among those who wished the Pm a speedy recovery, tweeting: ‘Best wishes to the Prime Minister for a continued recovery.

‘I know our NHS staff everywhere are showing themselves again to be exceptional and brave in caring for all our loved ones at this time of health emergency. ‘

Shortly after news of his release, Ms Symonds had tweeted to pay tribute to the ‘magnificent NHS’.

She said: ‘I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.

‘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.

‘Thank you also to everyone who sent such kind messages of support. Today I’m feeling incredibly lucky.’

Stanley Johnson said he was delighted by the latest update, said he hopes his son ‘does not overdo it’ while recovering at Chequers.

Mr Johnson, who is at his farm in Exmoor, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to hear the news that Boris has left hospital – it is wonderful news.

‘Of course it is not only me who is delighted but the whole family.

‘I am especially pleased that he will now be able to be with his fiancee Carrie, and if they head to Chequers I very much hope he doesn’t overdo it.’

He also praised the NHS for the care they gave his son.

He added: ‘I realise now – I think the whole country realises – how close he came to a crisis situation and it is wonderful he has come out of that crisis.

‘It is wonderful that the national health service was able to help him and I think he has also paid tribute to them.

‘Our thoughts are with everybody, not only those who are fighting the battle against coronavirus, but those who are suffering from it.’

Dr Ian Abbs, chief executive at Guy’s and St Thomas’, paid tribute to hospital staff.

He said: ‘It is a great credit to the exceptional professionalism of clinical teams, as well as everyone in the wider organisation, that we have been able to care for the Prime Minister so effectively, whilst continuing to deliver equally high standards of care to all of our patients.’

He said thoughts must ‘turn immediately to those who still need our help at this time’ and reiterated the plea for people to ‘stay home to help us save lives and protect the NHS’.

Friends of the PM last night revealed how close the Prime Minister had been to death.

They relayed a message from the premier who said he owed his life to the NHS medics and added: ‘I can’t thank them enough.’

Indeed, a delighted member of his family likened the recovery to a biblical resurrection, and upon hearing he had been discharged from critical care made a timely Easter allusion, saying: ‘He is risen’.

When ‘the boss’ was first moved into intensive care on Monday night, cabinet colleagues took to the airwaves to assure the stricken PM would pull through and hailed him a ‘fighter’.

But behind closed doors, his team of ministers and advisers exchanged private calls where they were forced to swallow the grim reality that the PM’s chances were on a knife-edge at ’50-50′.

Crushed aides who eulogise Mr Johnson as the glue binding together a tight-knit Downing Street team were even moved to prayers.

After three nail-biting nights, they finally celebrated as the physically drained but ‘euphoric’ PM was released from intensive care and moved back into a general care ward.

The hospitalisation of the country’s head of government hammered home the indiscriminate nature of the virus and shook ministers to the core.

One cabinet member told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It took us all by surprise. We all think we’re sort of invincible.’

Devouring his Tintin books which tell the adventures of a Belgian journalist – Mr Johnson made his name as a correspondent in Brussels – the PM is thankfully on the road to recovery and is being boosted by scans of his unborn baby sent by his fiancée Carrie Symonds.

Number 10 advisers have now reportedly turned their attention to how to tell their determined boss he needs time to recover.

‘It will have been a shock and hopefully enough to convince him that he needs to take it easy,’ a source told the Sunday Times.

When Mr Johnson first began self-isolating with the disease on March 27, he had a stripped-back workload but continued taking his red box and steering the government’s crisis response.

One of his first acknowledgements that the energy-sapping disease was taking its toll came on April 2, the day before his seven-day isolation period ended, during the daily 9.15am morning coronavirus meeting.

After coughing over videolink from his Number 11 flat, Mr Johnson told his Covid-19 taskforce: ‘I’ve got it and, I can tell you, it’s a b****r this thing,’ according to the Telegraph.

When the PM was moved out of intensive care on Thursday following three days of oxygen treatment, a member of his family compared his recovery to the resurrection and remarked: ‘He is risen’, according to the Times.

His condition was described as ‘exhausted but euphoric’, the Sun on Sunday reports.

While in hospital, Mr Johnson has been boosted by a love letter from his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, which included a scan of their unborn child.

The Prime Minister plans to recuperate at Chequers after his release from hospital but his allies insist he will control the vital process of when – and how – Britain emerges from the lockdown.

One source told the Times: ‘Who is going to make the speeches conditioning the nation for the big decisions and lifting national morale, if not Boris?’.

Overnight, the PM’s half brother Max Johnson, 35, branded the care the premier received while self-isolating in Downing Street a ‘shambles’.

In a rare intervention, the Hong-Kong based businessman told CNN: ‘From what I gather, and I wasn’t there, no one asked a doctor to mask up and physically examine him the whole time – more than 10 days.’

‘He’d tested positive so there was no doubt what he was dealing with. The word ‘shambles’ comes to mind.’

The PM’s steady recovery came as fears grew of a surge in deaths.

The government has begged the public to stay indoors, but still this weekend police were forced to have words with people enjoying the good weather in parks.

Parks and beaches are once again filling up with people flouting lockdown rules by sunbathing – as councils have been forced to shut cemeteries to stop Easter mourners gathering to lay flowers.

Shocking pictures have shown sunbathers lounging on the grass around London including at Battersea Park.

Councils closed cemeteries ahead of Easter to stop mourners gathering and laying flowers over the Holy weekend.

Away from London, beaches are far quieter than normal Bank Holiday weekend, but a minority continue to head out for walks along the shore. It comes after the coastguard was called out to a scuba diver who was caught fishing under Brighton Pier on Saturday night.

Revellers are returning to Beachy Head after groups were seen standing on the edge of the cliff in the sunshine on Saturday.

Politicians and nurses have repeatedly pleaded with the country to stay indoors and protect the NHS, but the spring heat wave has seen a small group of people, now being referred to online as #Covidiots, ignoring advice.

It came after a top scientist said Britain could surpass the number of deaths recorded in Europe.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said increasing testing would ‘buy you time’ to allow the health service to deal with the crisis, and there were ‘lessons to be learned from that’.

Actor and comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor was today announced to have died after contracting the virus.

His agent said in a statement: ‘It is with great sadness that we announce Tim’s death early today from Covid-19.

The Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and The Goodies star leaves behind his wife Christine and two sons.

Comedian Jack Dee, who hosts the BBC Radio 4 series I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue called the news ‘devastating’ adding that they thought he was recovering from the ‘dreadful virus’.

Boris Johnson’s address to the nation in full: Prime Minister thanks NHS staff and public for staying indoors after being discharged from hospital

Boris Jonson speaks from Downing Street

Boris Jonson speaks from Downing Street

Boris Jonson speaks from Downing Street

On his release from St Thomas’ Hospital this afternoon, the Prime Minister addressed the nation in a video posted on Twitter. Below is the full transcript of what he said: 

Good afternoon,

I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question.

It’s hard to find the words to express my debt – but before I come to that I want to thank everyone in the entire UK for the effort and the sacrifice you have made and are making.

When the sun is out and the kids are at home; when the whole natural world seems at its loveliest and the outdoors is so inviting, I can only imagine how tough it has been to follow the rules on social distancing

I thank you because so many millions and millions of people across this country have been doing the right thing – millions going through the hardship of self-isolation – faithfully, patiently, with thought and care for others as well as for themselves.

I want you to know that this Easter Sunday I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth.

Because although we mourn every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and though the struggle is by no means over, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus.

A fight we never picked against an enemy we still don’t entirely understand.

We are making progress in this national battle because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our National Health Service.

We understood and we decided that if together we could keep our NHS safe, if we could stop our NHS from being overwhelmed, then we could not be beaten, and this country would rise together and overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.

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 health care 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.

I want to pay my own thanks to the utterly brilliant doctors, leaders in their fields, men and women but several of them for some reason called Nick, who took some crucial decisions a few days ago for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life.

I want to thank the many nurses, men and women, whose care has been so astonishing.

I am going to forget some names, so forgive me, but I want to thank Po Ling and Shannon and Emily and Angel and Connie and Becky and Rachael and Nicky and Ann.

And I hope they won’t mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way.

They are Jenny from New Zealand – Invercargill on the South Island to be exact – and Luis from Portugal – near Porto.

And the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.

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 of NHS staff who are acting with the same care and thought and precision as Jenny and Luis.

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.

So thank you from me, and from all of us, to the NHS, and let’s remember to follow the rules on social distancing. Stay at home, protect our NHS – and save lives.

Thank you, and Happy Easter.

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