22 February 2022

Health boss says it is ‘really important’ to return to normal after Covid

22 February 2022

An NHS boss who led the health service’s coronavirus response has said it is “really important” to get back to “some sort of normal existence”.

Professor Sir Keith Willett, NHS England’s national director of emergency planning and incident response, collected his knighthood from the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

He said the honour “recognises the enormous work” of NHS staff across the country and that he felt “fantastic and excited” after receiving it.

Speaking about the lifting of Covid measures, Professor Sir Keith told the PA news agency: “It will be really important for everybody to get back to some sort of normal existence.

He collected his knighthood on Tuesday (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

“But it is a big challenge for the NHS which is what we’re now starting to address with vigour.”

He went on to say the axing of self-isolation laws and the end of free universal testing in England was a “balanced” decision and that the NHS is “prepared and ready” to respond to whatever transpires.

Recognised with the top honour after 40 years with the health service, Prof Willett was formerly the strategic commander for the delivery of NHS preparations as the UK left the EU.

In January 2020, as strategic incident director, he took on the responsibility for leading the NHS response to the coronavirus pandemic across England.

He added: “The Duke of Cambridge was delightful. Fortunately his father came and thanked my team personally a while back, and I think that recognition for all the work that’s gone on is really important for those in the teams.

“Today we spoke mostly about the operational response to Covid and how the NHS has responded and stood up to what was a massive challenge.”

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