“Things could have gone either way” – Boris Johnson

Johnson said medical staff saved his life "no question" in hospital where he was being treated for coronavirus. (10 Downing Street/AFP / Pippa FOWLES)
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LONDON – Boris Johnson has said there is “no question” that the NHS saved his life after he was discharged from hospital.

Downing Street announced on Sunday afternoon that the prime minister had left St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, but won’t immediately return to work as he continues to recover from coronavirus.

In a video message posted to his Twitter account after his seven-night hospital stay, Mr Johnson said: “I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question.

“It’s hard to find the words to express my debt.”

Boris Johnson spent seven nights at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London

The prime minister paid tribute to the “personal courage” of doctors, nurses, cleaners, cooks and all other healthcare workers at St Thomas’ and named individual staff who had steered him away from danger over the past week.

He paid particular thanks to two nurses – Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal – who “stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way”.

“The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed,” Mr Johnson said.

The prime minister also thanked Britons for the “sacrifice” they had made on a sunny Easter weekend by complying with his government’s lockdown measures.

He said the public had “formed a human shield” around the NHS.

“We understood and we decided that if together we could keep our NHS safe, if we could stop our NHS from being overwhelmed, then we could not be beaten,” the prime minister added.

“And this country would rise together and overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.”

Carrie Symonds


I cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough. The staff at St Thomas’ Hospital have been incredible. I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.

Paying tribute to the “care and thought and precision” of all NHS workers across the country, Mr Johnson said this 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 added.

The prime minister will recuperate at Chequers, his official country retreat in Buckinghamshire, where he is expected to be joined by his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds

Ms Symonds said she would “never, ever be able to repay” the NHS staff who treated him, adding: “I will never stop thanking you.”

“There were times last week that were very dark indeed,” she continued.

“My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.

“Thank you also to everyone who sent such kind messages of support. Today I’m feeling incredibly lucky.”

The prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson – who previously said his son “almost took one for the team” – told Sky News: “It’s marvellous news, I’m thrilled and delighted.”

The front entrance to Chequers, the Prime Minister's official country residence near Ellesborough in Buckinghamshire
The PM will continue his recovery at Chequers, his official country residence

The prime minister was first admitted to hospital last Sunday night for tests.

The action was taken due to the 55-year-old’s coronavirus symptoms persisting for more than a week after he was first found to have contracted COVID-19 on 27 March.

Up until his admission to hospital, Mr Johnson had been self-isolating in 11 Downing Street and conducting meetings remotely.

He was moved into intensive care at St Thomas’ when his health deteriorated and he had difficulty breathing on Monday afternoon.

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Mr Johnson remained in critical care until Thursday, during which time he was supported with oxygen, but did not require the use of a ventilator.

He then spent a further three nights on a low-dependency ward at St Thomas’, towards the end of which he was said to be taking “short walks” and “playing games and watching films”.

In his absence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for Mr Johnson – an arrangement that is likely to continue after the prime minister was advised not to make an immediate return to work.

Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily
Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

Ms Symonds, who works for an ocean conservation charity, sent Mr Johnson letters and baby scans to lift his spirits during his time in intensive care.

She has also been ill with coronavirus symptoms in recent weeks, but has not been tested for the virus.

Dr Ian Abbs, chief executive at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, said: “I am incredibly proud of the staff who have cared for the prime minister and pleased that he is now able to continue his recovery at home.

“I want to pay tribute to the teams whose dedication, skill and compassion made this possible.”

Armed police were seen leaving the hospital after the PM was discharged
Armed police were seen leaving the hospital after the PM was discharged

He added: “While it is right that we celebrate this good news, our thoughts turn immediately to those who still need our help at this time.

“On behalf of everyone at Guy’s and St Thomas’, I’d ask that people stay home to help us save lives and protect the NHS.” – Sky News