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Trust chief nurse chats to prince about NHS during palace visit

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A chief nurse has expressed her joy after being presented with her OBE for services to nursing by Prince William.

Kathryn Halford, chief nurse at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, was awarded the OBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

She attended a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday this week to collect the award, which was presented by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

Ms Halford, who was given the honour in recognition of her achievements during a nursing career spanning nearly four decades, was joined by her husband and three children for the special occasion.

“It was a really lovely day and you’re made to feel so special,” she said. “Prince William was really nice and asked all about the trust and my career in nursing, and we chatted about how we manage change and improvement in the NHS.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Kathryn Halford

Kathryn Halford with her OBE

“He was very attentive and you get to have a personal conversation, just you and him,” she said.

Ms Halford admitted that nerves kicked in just before she collected her award from the prince.

“I wasn’t nervous at all until I was next in line, but Prince William was so easy to talk to that put me at ease,” she said.

“They tell you what to do beforehand and there’s no rush so you really have the time to enjoy it,” she said. “And you’re very well looked after.”

Ms Halford was just 18 when she started in nursing and her varied career has included caring for victims of the London bombings in 2007, as well as looking after some of the first HIV and Aids patients in the 1980s

She was among 64 NHS staff – including many other nurses – receiving awards in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours, marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Ms Halford joined her current trust in February 2016. Although the organisation has a range of challenges, especially financial, Ms Halford has overseen improvements in nursing.

For example, she developed the “senior intern” programme to provide a successful mentoring and coaching programme for our new nurses – the first of its kind in the country.

The initiative won the Preceptorship of the Year category at the inaugural Nursing Times Workforce Awards in October.

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