A Scottish nurse has accepted an honour from the Queen on behalf of NHS Scotland as the service marks its 74th anniversary.
The Queen presented the George Cross to representatives from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in an audience at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.
It is only the third time the award for heroism – the highest civilian gallantry award – has been presented to the organisation in 82 years, with each nation receiving its own Cross.
Eleanor Grant, a palliative care nurse specialist at University Hospital in Wishaw, accepted the George Cross on behalf of the health service in Scotland.
She was joined by NHS Scotland chief executive Caroline Lamb, who paid tribute to the commitment shown by health and social care workers since the service was formed in 1948.
Lamb said: “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our health services. NHS and social care staff have cared for all of us on the frontline of the pandemic.
“Thanks to their dedication and duty, our NHS has saved countless lives and the George Cross is a symbol of the country’s gratitude.
“I know that the rest of Scotland will join me in paying tribute and giving thanks for everything the NHS and wider social care has done for us not only during the pandemic, but since its formation in 1948.”
Grant has been a nurse for 35 years, and was named Nurse of the Year at the Scottish Health Awards in 2021.
She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues across health and social care In Scotland. It’s an honour and a privilege.
“For me, Covid-19 has changed how I work. When patients were unable to have loved ones with them in their final moments, it was for me to be there.
“We all pulled together in the toughest of times and did what we had to do.”
Plans are in development for NHS Scotland’s George Cross to be put on public display.