The Duchess of Edinburgh visits Leeds Children’s Hospital


Staff and patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital welcomed The Duchess of Edinburgh yesterday when she visited Ward L52.

Duchess of Edinburgh interacting with a baby in the ward.

Ward L52 is the dedicated Paediatric Neurosciences Ward at Leeds Children’s Hospital that sees more than 350 patients each year.

Her Royal Highness has been a Patron of the Hospital since 2013 and this was first opportunity in-person to visit Leeds Children’s Hospital since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Duchess of Edinburgh interacting with a small child on the hospital ward.

Leeds Children’s Hospital is pioneering the use of Virtual Reality Distraction Therapy (VRDT) and with funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity, employs the UK’s first hospital-based Virtual Reality (VR) Play Specialist. Using VR technology, staff support patients through procedures that might include cannulations, dressing changes and even minor surgery. 

The Duchess of Edinburgh meets male patient and VR play specialist demonstrating Virtual Reality Distraction Therapy.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness met with hospital Play Specialists who demonstrated the innovative VRDT techniques they use. These are proving extremely successful in supporting children and their families with their treatment, often resulting in shorter stays in hospital and a more positive hospital experience. 

More than 350 appointments using VRDT have been delivered in the last 12 months and other children’s hospitals nationally and internationally are following the example set by Leeds.

The Duchess of Edinburgh meeting with nurses on the hosptial ward.

Since The Duchess of Edinburgh’s last visit, the Government has confirmed the Trust’s plan to build a new state-of-the-art hospital will be fully funded and can proceed. 

The scheme, to build a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, a new adults’ hospital and one of the largest single-site maternity and neonatal centres in the country at the Leeds General Infirmary by 2030, is part of the national New Hospital Programme.  

The Duchess of Edinburgh walking through the hospital ward.

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