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Prince of Wales pays ‘special tribute’ to nursing profession

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The Prince of Wales has thanked frontline nurses for their work on behalf of the nation at a special reception attended by over 300 members of the profession.

High Royal Highness told nurses at the event that he was aware of the “many pressures” facing the profession at the moment, particularly citing difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff.

“Thank you more than I can say for the difference you make to this nation”

Prince Charles

Speaking with feeling, he emphasised that the profession was “not taken for granted” and that he had been “astounded” by the some of the stories he had heard while talking to nurses at the event, which was also attended by the Countess of Wessex.

Over 350 nurses from across the country were invited to the special reception at Buckingham Palace yesterday evening to “thank those engaged in frontline nursing across the UK”.

His Royal Highness said: “In hosting this reception I wanted to do what I could just to highlight your achievements as individuals and as a profession and, above all, just to pay a very special tribute.

“You’ve all been invited because you’ve made exceptional contributions in your field in so many different parts of the country,” he told the nurses, who had been nominated to attend.

While meeting them, he said he had heard stories of “individual heroism and response to harrowing incidents, to sustained projects to do with healthcare for future generations”.

“I know how many pressures you have to face, how many challenges”

Prince Charles

Speaking generally about nurses around the country, he said: “So many I know are doing so much in your communities, frequently of course unsung and unseen.

“This is one small opportunity, inadequate though it may be, just to thank you on behalf of the whole nation for everything you do,” he said.

“I do want to make sure you know that, apart from being part of the most trusted profession in the United Kingdom today, what you do, from what I can say anyway, is not taken for granted,” he said.

“I know how many pressures you have to face, how many challenges, how difficult it is to retain nursing staff and sometimes even to recruit,” said His Royal Highness.

“Whatever you’re doing in nursing has continued to embody the central humanity that has always been associated with the profession,” he said. “You’re always looking out for all of us, from the cradle to the grave.”

The prince, who highlighted that he will be 70 this year like the NHS, also described a personal experience of going to Great Ormond Street Hospital as a child with a “rapidly expanding appendix”.

“I have never forgotten how wonderfully I was looked after,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave the hospital at all.”

“It’s an honour to be here and be recognised for something I love doing”

Memory Dzvene

He added: “I just wanted you to know… thank god, ladies and gentlemen, that there are truly wonderful people like all of you here this evening.

“Your endless care and devotion, as I said, is not taken for granted, so thank you more than I can say for the difference you make to this nation,” he said.

Nursing Times also spoke to some of the nurses who attended the event and who had met His Royal Highness.

Colm Darby, an advanced neonatal nurse practitioner at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Belfast, said: “It is an honour to be here and meet the prince.”

He said His Royal Highness was “really engaged with the problems and what’s going on in nursing and the NHS”.

Memory Dzvene, head of nursing integrated medicine at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It’s an honour to be here and be recognised for something I love doing.”

She noted that she was “representing everyone” in her team and organisation at the reception. “The prince is really aware of what’s going on on the ground and knows what’s happening,” she added.

“It puts nursing on the map at a high level”

David Pugh

David Pugh, a Queen’s nurse and chair of the National District Nurse Network, said he was “privileged and humbled” to be invited to the event. The senior team manager at Bristol Community Health said: “It puts nursing on the map at a high level.” 

“It’s wonderful for Queen’s nurses to be recognised and it’s wonderful that the royal family are taking an interest,” he added.

Meanwhile, Liz Rix, chief nurse at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, said she was “exceptionally proud” to attend the reception on behalf of nursing. “Nurses should be loud and proud,” she added.

Full speech made by the Prince of Wales

I’m sorry I was unable to meet everybody this evening, The Countess and I have tried very hard! Perhaps between us we may have. But I just want to say, in hosting this reception I wanted to do what I could just to highlight your achievements as individuals and as a profession and above all just to pay a very special tribute to you all because apart from anything else you’ve all been invited because you’ve made exceptional contributions in your field in so many different parts of the country.

If I may say so, I think in speaking to a few of you tonight I’ve been astounded by some of the stories I’ve heard; of individual heroism and response to harrowing incidents, to sustained projects to do with healthcare for future generations, those of you working in mental health, midwifery and also with hospices, with, for instance, Macmillan cancer care which I have been patron of for a long time. So many I know are doing so much in your communities, frequently of course unsung and unseen.

So this at least, ladies and gentlemen is one small opportunity, inadequate though it may be, just to thank you on behalf of the whole nation for everything you do. And I do want to make sure you know that, apart from being part of the most trusted profession in the United Kingdom today, what you do, from what I can say anyway, is not taken for granted.

Prince Charles

Prince of Wales

Source: Arnaud Bouissou

His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales

Because I know how many pressures you have to face, how many challenges, how difficult it is to retain nursing staff and sometimes even to recruit. And that so many of you have served so loyally and devotedly in the national health service for 30 or more years, so I suspect that there are some very remarkable grandmothers here. And how you manage all your families as well is a wonderful example of organisation.

But if I may say so, all the while, whatever you’re doing in nursing has continued to embody the central humanity that has always been associated with the profession. You’re always looking out for all of us, from the cradle to the grave.

Well I was describing to some of you how I was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital, I think at the age of nine or 10, with a rapidly expanding appendix, and I was taken in an ambulance from the school I was then at, it took four hours in those days, and I have never forgotten how wonderfully I was looked after at Great Ormond Street. When I went back to Windsor Castle I didn’t want to leave the hospital at all!

And of course ladies and gentlemen the stated aim of the NHS when it was founded 70 years ago was, ‘from the cradle to the grave.’ And the thing is I am exactly the same age as the National health service. 1948, a very good vintage! I have a feeling less bits are falling off the national health service.

But as I celebrate my birthday later this year, my 70th, I know a little bit about how things improve with age, although not always. But I just wanted you to know, above all else, before you go home or you stay in London and have a well deserved night out, that thank god, ladies and gentlemen, that there are truly wonderful people like all of you here this evening.

Your endless care and devotion, as I said, is not taken for granted so thank you more than I can say for the difference you make to this nation, thank you.

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • Now the Government is using the Royal Family to promote the nursing profession in the uk. But until the nursing profession becomes more democratic instead of a bully society with poor pay long hours recruitment will not happen.

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  • Well said .

    Utterly patronising and unwanted, shame on those attending and supporting such nonsense.

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  • Such a bullshit!!! Too much talking. Nurses needs actions from the government to improve their way of living like improving their salary against rapidly rising price of basic commodities. Got to have equalities and get rid of too much bureaucracy and politics. Once these are resolved, NHS will rise from grave to heaven without too much talking from royal family or whoever with cardinal public figure. Got it!

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  • That's what we need another cup of tea to shut up.

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  • When we're dressed in rags, gaunt and hungry, living in boxes, we'll see how much we care about being praised. Cynical? Moi?

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