`

NHS boss thanks hard-working staff as 1,400 babies expected on Christmas Day

NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens.
NHS England's chief executive Simon Stevens.

NHS staff will welcome around 1,400 babies into the world on Christmas Day, according to the chief executive of NHS England, as he thanked doctors, nurses and other health workers for all their hard work.

Simon Stevens praised the contribution of staff, from porters to consultants and nursing leaders, who give up precious time with their families to look after the most vulnerable over the festive break.

In a filmed Christmas message, he also paid tribute to all those who work for the emergency services, who have demonstrated their bravery, dedication and skill during a "pressurised" year that has seen deadly terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell fire tragedy.

On Christmas Day alone an estimated 97,000 nurses and 53,000 nursing assistants will be working in hospitals, while 12,000 midwives are expected to welcome around 1,400 babies into the UK, he said.

Around 12,000 ambulance staff, including paramedics, will be on duty along with around 176,000 care workers and home carers.

Meanwhile an army of caterers will produce around 400,000 Christmas dinners to enable patients in hospital to tuck into a festive feast.

In the video message, which has been released on social media, he said: "Christmas and New Year is a time when most families are celebrating together with friends, but for hundreds and thousands of NHS staff - for ambulance crews, for A&E nurses, for doctors, for catering assistants, for mental health teams - people are coming into work and are looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our country.

"Christmas Day will also see the NHS staff welcoming into the world around 1,400 newborn babies - an experience my wife and I shared when our own son was born in an NHS hospital on Christmas Day.

"2017 in many ways has been a very pressurised time for the NHS and for you, our staff. Looking to 2018, the NHS is going to be celebrating its 70th anniversary.

"But as we do that we want to take a moment to say on behalf of everybody in this country a huge thank you to all of you, who are working over the holiday period, putting other people first and making the difference to countless millions of people's lives - thank you."