Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are this afternoon visiting the hospital in Chatburn Road to hear about staff's incredible contributions caring for patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
In their role as Joint Royal Patrons for independent charity NHS Charities Together, they will also hear how support from the hospital charity ELHT&Me, using a grant from NHS Charities Together, helped to support exhausted colleagues at the Trust, including funding a new therapy puppy who will be introduced and named during the visit.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also speak to GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals who work across the community, giving a welcome morale boost to a team that has carried on providing the best possible care for elderly and sick patients, within the hospital and in the rural community, despite experiencing the busiest services on record.
In addition they will meet with patients, including those who will soon be able to leave hospital thanks to the care they have received from the team, with continued support provided at home.
Thrilled to welcome the Royals, Professor Eileen Fairhurst, Chairman of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Clitheroe Community Hospital. The visit will provide a huge boost to the entire team at a time when colleagues are feeling exhausted from our ongoing and relentless response to Covid and indeed the very difficult challenges linked to the Omicron variant."
Meanwhile, Sarah Caton, a Matron at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, working in the Community Hospitals based at Pendle and Clitheroe, said: "I have seen first-hand the impact on health and wellbeing of colleagues during the response to the Covid pandemic.
"It has been an extremely intense, relentless and exhausting time for everyone in the NHS and throughout my 34-year career I have not experienced anything like this. East Lancashire has been particularly affected by the pandemic and we have lost so many people, including beloved colleagues, to Covid. The team has supported patients and their families through some difficult times but just as importantly we have supported each other and continue to do so. We couldn’t have got through it otherwise."
“The funding provided by both NHS Charities Together and the hospital’s own charity ELHT&Me has been so important to us. Staff have been provided with health and well-being packs, meals and hot drinks, places for rest and respite, therapy, wellbeing rooms and more.
"The charities are doing a brilliant job and it has prompted me to fund raise myself because I know the work they are doing is so critical to our response but also our recovery. I want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed and for them to know the huge impact it has
Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive for NHS Charities Together, went on to say: “It means so much to NHS staff that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could visit the team in East Lancashire today to hear their experiences and see first-hand how support from the public through NHS charities makes such a difference.
"Sadly, the pressures facing the NHS aren’t going away any time soon, so it’s vital that we continue to be there to support the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff, so they are able to face whatever challenges are ahead.
"We are so grateful to our Royal Patrons for helping to shine a light on this issue and supporting the incredible NHS workforce.”