Prince William thanks Portsmouth staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital for their efforts in Covid crisis

PRINCE William has thanked hospital chaplains for their sacrifices in the pandemic while working hard to support NHS staff, patients and the bereaved.

By Ben Fishwick
Friday, 5th March 2021, 11:21 am
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 2:34 pm

The Duke of Cambridge called the Rev Dawn Banting, lead chaplain at Queen Alexandra Hospital, who told the second in line for the throne about the frontline work her team has done.

The Rev Banting said chaplains were ‘needed more than ever’ in the Covid crisis and how staff were now supporting each other coming out of the busy winter period.

The royal heard the Rev Banting had been ‘coming in seven days a week’ at the height of the pandemic with everyone ‘struggling’ but there also being a ‘real feeling of everyone coming together’.

The Rev Dawn Banting. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Prince William thanks her and the chaplaincy team for ‘the sacrifices they have made to support others and keep morale raised throughout the pandemic,’ the hospital said. The prince also expressed his ‘thanks and best wishes to everyone’ at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

The Rev Banting said: ‘It was such an honour and privilege to speak to His Royal Highness.

‘I hadn’t told any of my team so looking forward to sharing the great news with them now.’

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The Rev Dawn Banting, from the hospital's chaplaincy team

Sharing the struggles of the pandemic included telling the prince about the loss of a fellow QA Hospital chaplain.

Fr Dr Biji Markose Chirathilattu died after testing positive for Covid-19 last year at the age of 52.

Describing her the efforts in the pandemic, the Rev Banting said: ‘There is often so little we can do to change the pandemic but providing a listening ear, holding a hand, or wiping a tear, can make all the difference.

‘We have always looked after our staff, patients and their families but during this pandemic the depth of need from the staff has changed considerably.

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge

‘It’s not giving advice or talking to people. It’s coming alongside and letting them tell you what they want and need.’

She added: ‘During the pandemic it has felt like our presence has been needed more than ever. Many of our colleagues have been coming to us to disclose that they are struggling, but despite this there has been a real feeling of everyone coming together.

‘I spoke to His Royal Highness about what the trust was doing to support us as we recognise everyone will have their own personal commitments on top of work, so many have not had the opportunity for the downtime they need.

‘It was interesting to reflect on the impact the pandemic has had on me both professionally and personally.

‘Sometimes I think back to when I was coming in seven days a week and supporting some incredibly emotive situations and wonder how I did it.

‘But so many of us did do it and now it is about supporting each other as we come out of it.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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