The Duke of Cambridge has spoken to more than 300 NHS staff, volunteers and leaders since January 2021 to check in on their welfare and thank them for their exceptional work.
Since the start of the year, The Duke has spoken to more than 300 staff and volunteers spanning the breadth of the NHS’s workforce, from all corners of the UK, via a series of one-to-one phone calls and participation in regional meetings via video calls. The Duke wanted to check in on the wellbeing of all those supporting the NHS at this time, and to thank them for the vital part they are playing in the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through 62 calls to individuals, he has spoken to frontline workers in hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies; staff and volunteers involved in administering the COVID-19 vaccine; and those working in non-clinical roles, including portering and domestic services. He has also joined five regional meetings with CEOs and directors from NHS Trusts via video call to understand more about some of the local challenges their organisations have faced.
The Duke’s conversations have seen him speak to staff representing every Health Board in Wales, every NHS Board in Scotland, every Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, and every county in England.
The Duke was keen to hear about the impact the pandemic has had on the wellbeing of staff and volunteers across all parts of the NHS who have worked so relentlessly through this extremely challenging year. His Royal Highness also wanted to pay tribute to the NHS’s incredible efforts over the past year, especially with regard to the hugely successful roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in British history.
Each conversation highlighted the phenomenal work carried out every day across the health service, including the provision of medical support to those recovering from COVID-19 or long-COVID, the efforts of non-clinical staff to help their frontline colleagues, and services delivering mental health and emotional wellbeing support for children and young people.
Through these conversations, The Duke has also heard from staff about how funding from NHS Charities Together has allowed hospitals across the nation to meet the immediate needs for staff, supported community partnerships, and bolstered the nation’s long-term recovery from the pandemic. The NHS Trusts who have benefited outlined some of the projects which have been implemented over the past year, including a Patient Support Hub set up by Southampton University Hospitals, and support for unpaid carers by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.