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We welcome the news that the work carried out by courageous NHS staff has been recognised by the Queen on the NHS' 73rd birthday. The George Cross is the UK's highest recognition, given for great acts of heroism and courage; upon award, the Queen shared her thanks and appreciation for all NHS staff.

Our President, Dr Sanjeev Patel, said: “As President of British Society for Rheumatology and a consultant rheumatologist, I'm delighted the Queen has awarded the George Cross to the NHS. The UK’s rheumatology workforce has been stretched beyond capacity throughout the global pandemic.

"Maintaining rheumatology care that is of the highest standard, while coping with redeployment to support the COVID-19 response, often with reduced resources, brought the best out of our rheumatology multidisciplinary teams.

BSR members show relentless courage in the most difficult of professional and personal circumstances. After more than a year of working on the frontline, where we've contributed so much, this personal and heartfelt tribute from the Queen acknowledges the highest standards of public service to all our colleagues, both past and present working within the NHS."