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The Prince of Wales visits Royal Bournemouth Hospital to honour pandemic efforts by staff



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HRH the Prince of Wales paid staff at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital a visit in recognition of their work during the pandemic and to officially open a garden in memory of former colleagues.

Prince Charles met staff from across University Hospitals Dorset and visited the new operating theatre that will help with the backlog of patients requiring elective operations.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

The theatre, which was built in a matter of months, will officially open its doors to patients next week. It forms part of the Derwent ward, which before the pandemic was used for elective surgery but then switched to a palliative care unit.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

After a tour of the theatre, the prince then spoke to staff from across the hospital trust who went above and beyond during the pandemic.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

They included ward members who went to work in intensive care to support the numbers of sick patients, staff who moved out of their homes during the pandemic so they could continue to work on the front line, and colleagues who were in intensive care with Covid but returned to work following recovery.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

Clinical director of trauma and orthopaedics, Mr Paul Pavlou, said: "It’s fantastic to get the recognition from the Prince of Wales of all the hard work we’ve put in during Covid and the tremendous effort to recover from the pandemic.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

"We need bold initiatives and investment into theatres like this to make sure we don’t have long waiting lists for years, and it’s a privilege to be able to show him this today."

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

Prince Charles then officially opened the hospital’s new lavender garden, which gives staff an area to rest, reflect and recharge. He also unveiled a plaque and met relatives and colleagues of the hospital staff who have died.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

The garden, which was funded by donations to the University Hospital Dorset NHS Charity, was originally proposed by the hospital’s theatres' team as a space to remember their friends and colleagues, Anna and Tom, who they lost to cancer in 2020.

(Photo: Philip Hartley)
(Photo: Philip Hartley)

Surgical first assistant, Donna Bailey, explained: "Just before Anna died, I gave her a bunch of lavender from my garden, and that’s where the idea for this special space came from. This has since grown into a garden for all staff so we can have a peaceful place to decompress during difficult shifts, to recharge after a long day inside, and to reflect on those we have lost."

Accompanying the prince on his visit was the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Dorset the Hon Mrs. Charlotte Townshend, the hospital’s acting CEO Paula Shobbrook and acting chairman Philip Green.

Professor Shobbrook said: "It has been a very challenging few years for all of us and our teams have demonstrated remarkable resilience and compassion during difficult times. I am very proud of all they do."



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