EEAST staff welcome The Duke of Cambridge

Duke of Cambridgeshire

The Duke of Cambridge has today (16 June) visited staff from the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) to thank them for their hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 outbreak and hear more about their experiences of delivering care during the pandemic.

Prince William met frontline crews and support staff at King’s Lynn Ambulance Station, which is at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site, this afternoon.

During the visit, he heard about the extra steps which have been taken to make sure that EEAST has been able to continue to provide high quality services throughout the pandemic, such as working collaboratively with the military and other blue lights services.

He also heard more about the individual sacrifices made by staff, which include taking on extra shifts or staying away from their homes and loved ones so that they could continue working while protecting their families.

The staff also spoke to The Duke about the support that they have received from the public, local businesses and volunteering networks, as well as the resources which are in place at EEAST to help safeguard their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Among the staff to meet The Duke was paramedic Aimee Horton, who has worked for EEAST for seven years. She said: “It was very thoughtful for The Duke to choose to visit us and nice to know that we are in his thoughts.”

Senior paramedic Rebecca Endersby said: “We are all proud of the work we have done at EEAST during the pandemic. The ambulance service has always considered itself as a family which looks after each other. COVID-19 has shown just how much we care about one another and we are delighted that His Royal Highness recognises this.”

Jess Blamire, who joined the Trust seven months ago as a make ready operative, and has responsibility for cleaning and preparing EEAST’s ambulances before they hit the road, said: “It was a real privilege that The Duke came to see us and hear about how we are getting through this pandemic.

“He was very interested in what we had to say and the steps we have been taking to keep ourselves and others safe.”

Today’s visit came after The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the ‘Our Frontline’ initiative in April, which provides round-the-clock mental health and bereavement support to frontline staff and key workers. Supported by The Royal Foundation, Our Frontline is run in partnership with Mind, Samaritans, Hospice UK and Shout85258. 

Terry Hicks, EEAST’s head of operations for Norfolk and Waveney, said: “We were honoured to receive The Duke to meet with staff today.

“The Duke was interested to hear of the crews’ experiences of working through the pandemic and how this had impacted on the wellbeing of themselves and their families, and of the support mechanisms which are available.

“We would like to thank The Duke for continuing to raise awareness of mental wellbeing, especially among NHS and emergency services workers.”

Published 16th June 2020

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