16 Jun 2020, 2:08 p.m.

Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have today visited Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and met staff working in health and social care throughout the county.

During a 50 minute visit to the hospital this morning, their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Edward Gillespie and the Chief Executive of the Hospitals Trust, Deborah Lee thanked staff for their dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is the first time since the lockdown that Their Royal Highnesses have had an opportunity to thank front line health workers for their contribution during the pandemic. They addressed a range of health and social care professionals including clinicians, social workers, domestic staff, volunteers and other frontline colleagues from the health and care system locally. 

Deborah Lee, Chief Executive of the Hospitals Trust, said: “We were honoured to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to our hospital today. It’s been an incredibly uplifting occasion for all of my colleagues and one that we will remember for a long time to come.

“Whether it’s clinical colleagues or support staff, volunteers, local businesses or schools, the response to the pandemic by the whole community here in Gloucestershire has been quite incredible.”

Chris Barrett, Manager of the Hospital Social Work Team, Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Staff across the health and care system in Gloucestershire have gone to incredible lengths during these unprecedented times to ensure that we continue to provide compassionate care to our patients, and their families. It’s important that this is recognised and valued and recognition doesn’t come any greater than this.”

Jim Welch, Lead Nurse, Mental Health Liaison Team, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Pandemics such as COVID-19 are a once in a hundred years event. I’m very proud of the role and part we’ve played in helping patients whether that’s been here at the hospital or in the community where we’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure we can continue to provide care and support.”

Kevin Dickens, Community Responder Officer, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our NHS and the spirit and endeavour showed by volunteers and the whole community in responding to COVID-19. Their Royal Highnesses were genuinely interested and appreciative of the work that we have done and our involvement in responding to the pandemic. This will be a day that I remember for the rest of my life.”

Kerry Holden, Lead Nurse for Infection Prevention & Antimicrobial Stewardship, added: “Today’s visit was very humbling. For us we’ve just continued to do our job and look after patients in the best way we possibly can. I’m not entirely sure it’s dawned on us yet just how much appreciation there is for us. It’s when you receive a visit from Their Royal Highnesses that you realise just how much impact we’ve made. This is a very special day and one which I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” 

Clinicians continue to remind the public of the potential risks associated with COVID-19 and have asked the public to follow the latest government guidance in relation to social distancing and the gradual easing of lockdown rules.