This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

'Some nurses have died'

Written by: | Published:

Angel Nurses are giving their lives to beat COVID. Their sacrifice should not be in vain

‘We’ve seen very sadly four doctors die so far, and some nurses.’ Health Secretary Matt Hancock, BBC1 Question Time April 2, 2020

Some nurses have died. We are in the grip of a pandemic, and Britain is under house arrest. Some us accept it stoically, some of us grumpily, and some not at all. The police break up barbecues among the proles, while the better-off more discreetly slink off to holiday homes in Cornwall. They do what they want and leave others to pick up the pieces. Life goes on, sort of.

But some nurses have died. How many? If the Health Secretary didn’t know a fortnight ago, it is unlikely now. The official figure I heard him give this morning was that 27 NHS staff have died since the start of this wretched pandemic. Others say 56. Still every day, the press conferences happen. Smart well-spoken ministers on first name terms with the journalists interrogating them trot out reassuring well-rounded figures about the amount of PPE going to the front line, the testing that is imminently going to happen. Individual nurses tweet photos of bare supply cupboards or empty boxes; or exhausted to the point of tears call radio phone-ins, lone voices against armies of statistics. Lions led by donkeys with spreadsheets. And then they get out of bed, go into work and do it all again: not knowing whether they have sufficient protective equipment that day; not knowing when testing will arrive; forced to play Russian roulette with two revolvers at once.

Some nurses have died. They have names, faces, people who loved them. I’m haunted by Areema with the Hollywood smile her three kids will never see again; Mary whose newborn baby daughter will never meet her; Elsie who worked in the care home off the official radar of statistics. Good lives, well-lived, cut pointlessly short.

Some nurses have died, but please not in vain. Change must come, and stay when those rounds of applause come to an end. A brief moment of fashionable adulation is no substitute for lasting and properly earned respect. Ministers take note: these people, and this profession truly counts.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.