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The year of the nurse and midwife “but not in the way we expected.”

The Year of the Nurse and Midwife is to be extended into 2021 because of the pandemic, it has been announced.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had dedicated 2020, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, to celebrate the achievements nurses and midwives across the globe.

NHS England canceled the vast majority of planned celebratory events.

In a speech at WHO Europe on Monday Dr. Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe, recognised that for nurses and midwives that it has been a difficult year.

He continued; “I salute here the nurses and the midwives. It is your year. But you have been so busy that in the WHO European Region I decided to extend the year into 2021.”

“We will push back COVID-19 and I promise, we will celebrate you”.

Nursing leaders have said they are pleased with the news.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, pointed out that 2020 had been the year of the nurse and midwife “but not in the way we expected.”

“Let’s hope we have the opportunity to celebrate together the brilliant work of our nursing and midwifery professionals,” she added.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said she was “thrilled” at the news and said it was important “to pay thanks and respect to nursing and midwifery professions which have led from the front this year”.