HOW touching was it to see communities drop everything on a Thursday evening at 8pm during the height of lockdown to pay tribute to our uniformed heroes at the NHS working on the frontline?

The Clap for Carers each week saw millions of people across the UK show their gratitude to those putting their own lives at risk to help others struck down with this horrible virus.

It quickly gained traction and more and more people stood on their doorsteps and the sound became deafening at times such was the support.

It was suggested, however, in some quarters that the weekly occurrence was nothing more than a hollow gesture; more of a vanity project for people to give off the impression they cared for the NHS.

Some even suggested people saw it as a competition to ‘out do’ their neighbours in the ‘I care more’ stakes.

Despite this, it was clear to most that those working in the NHS were amazing at what they did and they deserved endless amount of praise, and, more importantly, better work and pay conditions.

So it is of little surprise that NHS nurses and midwives were upset, angered and demoralised that, while 900,000 public sector workers were to receive a pay rise – they were left out.

Government ministers have been more than willing since the outbreak of coronavirus to say how important nurses and midwives have been in keeping the country going when everything came to an abrupt halt, the NHS nurses ultimately saving lives while the midwives have ensured new lives could enter the world safely.

Yet the apparent snub by Westminster leaves a sour taste with many in the profession who are overworked but underpaid.

As one midwife from Prudhoe told us this week: ‘Claps don’t pay the bills’, and the least these heroes deserve is more reward for their amazing efforts.