Boris Johnson

It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS for saving my life. The efforts of millions of people across this country to stay home are worth it. Together we will overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.

Boris Johnson has thanked the NHS for saving his life as he left hospital to recuperate at Chequers, after a week of treatment for Covid-19.

The prime minister singled out two nurses in particular for watching over his bedside in intensive care for 48 hours “when things could have gone either way” – Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal.

Speaking in a video message just hours after leaving St Thomas’ hospital in south London, the prime minister expressed optimism the UK was “making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus”.

Johnson said he had left hospital “after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question”.

He said the country was mourning “every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and the struggle is by no means over” but he argued progress was being made “because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our NHS”.

Johnson said he had seen the pressures the NHS was under after seven days in hospital, including three in intensive care. And he had witnessed 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”.

He praised a list of nurses and doctors who had looked after him by name, and gave extra thanks to Jenny and Luis, saying their care and interventions were “the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

He also praised and thanked the public for observing social distancing when “the whole natural world seems at its loveliest and the outdoors is so inviting”.