Prince William and Kate Middleton secretly visit NHS centre during coronavirus pandemic - EpicNews

Emily Nash

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made a morale-boosting visit to an NHS 111 name centre to focus on its very important work to handle the coronavirus outbreak. Prince William praised the well being service as representing “the very best of our country and society” as he thanked workers on behalf of the royal household. And he urged the general public to play their half “to protect the most vulnerable” by staying at house if a member of the family has signs and avoiding non-essential contact to stop spreading the virus.

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WATCH: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit NHS 111 name centre

Speaking after he and Kate visited the centre in Croydon, south London, the Duke mentioned: “The last few weeks, and more recent days have been understandably concerning with the continuing spread of coronavirus. But it’s at times like this when we realise just how much the NHS represents the very best of our country and society – people from all backgrounds and walks of life with different experiences and skills, pulling together for the common good.

“Not solely are NHS workers and emergency employees responding to the wants of the general public, they – like the remainder of us – are involved about their households, buddies and family members.  They want our help as a lot as we want theirs.

READ: Prince William and Kate Middleton support the Queen’s decision to change her routine

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William and Kate visted the NHS 111 name centre this week

“That is why Catherine and I were proud to visit staff working at NHS 111, to pass on our personal thanks, along with those of my grandmother and father, to staff working around the clock to provide care and advice to those that need it most. It was also brilliant to see the great online tools for those with mild symptoms or worries.

“All of us have a component to play if we will shield probably the most weak. That means appearing on the most recent knowledgeable recommendation, staying house if we or these we reside with have signs, and avoiding non-essential contact to assist cut back the unfold of the virus.”

William and Kate followed health guidelines throughout their visit on Thursday, making a conscious effort to distance themselves from people they met, avoiding handshakes and twice stopping to use hand sanitiser.
When supervisor Courtney Campbell, 32, briefly forgot the rules and instinctively reached out to shake their hands, William laughed: “Don’t shake arms!” But he added, as they posed for a picture: “We can do {a photograph} if we aren’t inside a metre of one another.”

As they chatted to call handlers, Kate, who wore a pink trouser suit from Marks & Spencer for the outing, told them: “It’s wonderful. You’re doing such a fantastic job bringing everybody collectively and offering that, the help system for the entire public.” William, himself a former Air Ambulance pilot, added: “There’s lots of people on the market who need to assist. A number of work is closing down elsewhere so individuals are going to need to come and volunteer, folks need to assist, folks need to be there to help you guys, and everybody is aware of what a improbable job you guys are doing.”

MORE: The latest way Princess Charlotte is taking after mum Kate Middleton

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Kate and William spoke to staff about the impact of coronavirus 

Tracy Pidgeon, 54, a manager currently helping with calls, said the Duke seemed nostalgic for his old job as a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance. “He misses the helicopter, being on the entrance line. He simply mentioned he misses it,” she said. Asked whether the Duke might be a useful recruit, London Ambulance Service chief executive, Garrett Emmerson replied with a smile: “As he is aware of properly, we now have an air ambulance service right here in London. I do know that he could be welcome there any time.”

As they toured the room, William met call handler Paula White, a former telephonist at Buckingham Palace who had met him when he was a baby. “Was I behaving myself? A rowdy little little one?” joked the Duke. She said afterwards: “I mentioned, ‘I can not say sir – the press are right here!'” Recalling her former job, she said: “I labored there when his mum was getting married.”

She mentioned Princess Diana used to enter the switchboard room, including: “She was once taking calls with us. I noticed the ring! He [William] was just a bit child when she introduced him down.” Paula said of the royal couple’s visit: “It’s beautiful. It’s like a pat on the again. It simply raises morale.”

MORE: How royals mums broke palace protocol to be more hands-on and modern parents

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William and Kate with NHS 111 call centre staff

The royal couple heard how the number of 111 calls to the centre has nearly quadrupled since the crisis began, from around 7,000 to 25,000 a day across London alone. And they were told its 999 service had just had the busiest three days in its history, with calls nearly doubling from 4,500 a day to 8,000.

Dr Agatha Nortley-Meshe, a GP and the assistant medical director of LAS, said the team was working “extraordinarily exhausting”.  She added: “Within the large quantity of calls, there are lots of people asking for recommendation and reassurance. But there are additionally some actually sick folks in there. It’s about ensuring we get folks to the proper place, we get folks the recommendation they want, we get folks the care they want.”

“Lots of people will need to assist,” said the Duke. “Is there any approach that the general public can do their bit that can assist you guys out? How rapidly are you able to practice up folks to change into name centre volunteers?” “In phrases of name dealing with, fairly rapidly,” replied Garrett.

As the royal couple left, William told staff: “Well finished on you guys. It’s beautiful to see you.”

The LAS chief executive said afterwards: “We had been speaking with the duke about potential future visits if we’re in additional phases of social distancing – we could also be doing distant conferencing for occasions like this,” he said. He added: “We are attempting to get via calls as quick as we are able to and make sure that we are able to determine the sickest sufferers and get probably the most pressing care to them, whether or not that’s on the telephone or with ambulance providers.”

People should only call 999 if they have “a really critical, doubtlessly life-threatening emergency” he said. “Call 111 in the event you can not get the recommendation you want from NHS on-line.”

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