NHS staff will be given the Freedom of Basildon to pay tribute to their “heroic” work throughout the Covid pandemic.

Staff from four NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups will have the freedom of the borough, an award handed to individuals following esteemed service to the town.

Basildon Council will hand the status to NHS staff as a thank you for “heroic service” since the Covid pandemic began.

However because of Covid restrictions, plans to hold a party have been put on hold.

Tory Andrew Baggott, the new leader of Basildon Council, experienced NHS care first hand when he suffered a stroke earlier this year.

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He said: “It’s a shame we can’t have a larger ceremony and a few drinks, because they deserve it.

“A representative will collect a certificate and a take a photo.

“It’s crucial we thank them for their hard work, they’re amazing.

“All key workers in the town should be given a certificate individually, as a keepsake. Logistically and financially that may not work but that would be ideal.

“Staff have had to deal with deaths on their wards more than ever the past year, and they’ve dealt with it magnificently.

“They always have a smile on their face on the wards.”

A certificate hand over ceremony will take place on Thursday.

Those who receive the Freedom of Basildon status usually have their names written on boards at the council offices.

However due to the amount of space needed, granting this to NHS staff won’t be possible.

Staff at the Basildon and Brentwood clinical commissioning group, the trust running Basildon Hospital, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, and the Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, will all be recognised.

Kerry Smith, Independent councillor for Nethermayne, added: “It’s all about saying thank you. We had to come up with a way of the council doing something in return.

“It’s a good example of the council helping residents. A lot of the staff at Basildon Hospital live in the borough.”