NURSE and former Invercargill resident Jenny McGee has enjoyed a reunion with her
high-profile patient, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at Downing St in London.
In a series of snaps released on Twitter, Mr Johnson was shown enjoying a cup of tea with intensive care nurse “Jenny from New Zealand” and Luis Pitarma, of Portugal, as the National Health Service (NHS) marked 72 years of healthcare.
“This evening, I was honoured to host those who looked after me at St Thomas’ Hospital, at Downing Street, as we celebrate 72 years of our incredible NHS,” Mr Johnson wrote.
The pictures show Mr Johnson, Ms McGee and Mr Pitarma sharing a joke, while enjoying high tea in the Prime Minister’s backyard. They were also joined by doctors Nick Price and Nicholas Hart.
Ms McGee and Mr Pitarma were singled out by the 55-year-old British leader after he was treated for Covid-19 at St Thomas’ Hospital in April this year. He credited them both with saving his life, recounting how they sat by his bed during a critical time.
Mr Johnson said Ms McGee was one of the nurses integral to his recovery, after he spent three nights in intensive care, where he was given oxygen but was not on a ventilator.
Ms McGee (35) had worked as an intensive care nurse for a decade. She later revealed how the pair talked about New Zealand and her home town of Invercargill in Southland.
“It was totally out of the blue,” she said of Mr Johnson’s public praise.
Ms McGee kept a vigil at Mr Johnson’s bedside for two days.
We were constantly observing, we’re constantly monitoring,” she told Television New Zealand.
When asked if she was nervous to be tending to the Prime Minister, Ms McGee said because of her experience she “was not fazed”.
The Prime Minister received no special treatment or different from other patients at the NHS, and the toughest part of that time was the speculation about Mr Johnson’s health, Ms McGee said.
“There was a lot of media interest in him being in hospital and, to be honest, that’s probably the toughest thing of the lot.”
Her efforts also won the praise of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who contacted Ms McGee through Facebook.
“She said how proud she was of me and the country was so proud. It’s so heartwarming and something I’ll never forget.”