Tributes pour in for renowned physicist and NHS supporter, Stephen Hawking

Following the announcement of Stephen Hawking's death, tributes have flooded in for the renowned physicist

Nurses and other health professionals pay tribute to world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking following today’s announcement of his death

Professor Stephen Hawking. Picture: Alamy

People have been especially quick to praise the A Brief History of Time author for his staunch support of the NHS.

Professor Hawking developed motor neurone disease as a student in 1962, and once wrote he ‘would not be here today (were) it not for this service’.

Passionate support for NHS

Nurse Kenny Gibson who regularly tweets using the hashtags #earlyrisersclub and #nightshiftcarers, which are popular with healthcare professionals, paid his tribute to Professor Hawking.

Writing in the Guardian last year Professor Hawking said: ‘The NHS is in a crisis, and one that has been created by political decisions.

‘These political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on junior doctors, and removal of the student nurses’ bursary.

‘Political decisions such as these cause reductions in care quality, longer waiting lists, anxiety for patients and staff, and dangerous staff shortages.’

His passionate support saw him most recently join with fellow academics and doctors to win the right to challenge what they saw as the privatisation of the NHS.

A hearing is due at the High Court in the coming days as the remaining challengers seek judicial review into health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt’s introduction of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).

In an interview, Professor Hawking said: ‘I am concerned that accountable care organisations are an attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS.’

Mr Hunt, his department, and NHS England have all denied accusations ACOs will ‘Americanise’ the NHS and insist they are simply about making care more joined up between health and social care organisations.

Health and social care secretary's tribute

Paying tribute to Professor Hawkings today on Twitter Mr Hunt wrote: ‘Stephen Hawking was a defining force in the world of science whose loss will be felt in every corner of the globe.

‘I was sad that we didn’t agree on everything, but he was still a hero to me as one of our greatest ever thinkers – he inspired with his courage as well as his words.’

Nurse Joey Giles responded to Mr Hunt.

Away from politics nurses have been using Twitter simply to pay tribute to Professor Hawking.

Former head of nursing at Unison Gail Adams tweeted:

Jo, a recovery nurse from Manchester, thanked Professor Hawking for his record of praising the NHS.

East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group deputy lead nurse Nicki Sparling posted:

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