Prince William pays tribute to ‘much loved’ Norfolk nurse who died of Covid-19

The Duke of Cambridge paid tribute to a ‘much loved’ nurse who sadly passed away after contracting Covid-19 as he took part in a video call with East of England’s NHS leadership team last week.

Speaking during the video meeting held last Wednesday, the Prince, who contracted the virus himself last April, said: “I also want to just sort of pass on my thoughts to all of you and your teams about Estrella Catalan, who I believe was a much loved member of most of your teams and had been in the region for a long time at I think King’s Lynn and N and N (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital).

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Speaking about the nurse who worked within the emergency department, the father-of-three continued: “And I imagine that’s hit everyone very hard so I’m very sorry to hear that, and my thoughts from my family are all with all of you who knew her and her family.”

Interviewed from her hospital bed last month by the BBC, Mrs Catalan cried as she explained she only wanted to return to her patients: “I want to help. But I don’t know when. I don’t mind working and doing even extra shifts to help the trust, but I’m here as a patient. I’m helpless.”

As a longtime champion of increasing awareness of mental health, Prince William openly urged NHS executives to openly talk about mental health and encouraged their workforce to ‘feel emboldened and inspired to also take it seriously’.

The Duke of Cambridge also said the country is currently facing a ‘very big waterfall of mental health issues’ in the future and asked the executives about their own wellbeing.

As Patron of NHS Charities Together, the Duke has been supporting healthcare workers throughout the pandemic.  Last year, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced a £1.8 million grant to help support those working on the front line and mental health.

Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, during a visit to the Kings Lynn Ambulance Station to thank staff from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust for their work and dedication responding to the Coronavirus pandemic

During the private meeting, where the Duke was told about initiatives to support the mental wellbeing of NHS staff and patients, he commended the actions to taken to promote mental health issues.

“I’m pleased to hear the mental health processes are taken very seriously and as I said at the beginning, anything that you as CEOs can do to share your concerns, worries, mental health – whether positive, whether poor – would be a really big thing as well after this.

“You know, it leads from the top down as well as the bottom up. And so if any of you can shed light or be involved in that, it really opens the door that allows your workforce to feel emboldened and inspired to also take it seriously.”

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The Queen’s grandson said: “As you know I’m trying to champion, trying to tackle the taboo and the stigma around mental health and my conversations so far up and down the country with your colleagues in the NHS has starkly shown – as Ann pointed out – we’re facing a very big waterfall of mental health issues coming up.”

William, 38, who has previously worked as a helicopter pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance where he ended his two-year stint in 2017, is likely to have taken patients to the NNUH.

He paid tribute to the NHS staff he had previously worked alongside, saying he held them in ‘high esteem’ and told everyone at the meeting they were performing a ‘brilliant, brilliant job’.

The Duke of Cambridge starts his final shift with the East Anglian Air Ambulance based out of Marshall Airport near Cambridge in July 2017.

Ann Radmore, regional director of NHS England and NHS Improvement East of England, led the meeting which included Sam Higginson, chief executive of the NNUH where Estrella Catalan worked.

After the meeting, she said about the Royak: “He mentioned her death to us, and I think that was very appropriate and helpful actually, because she was a much loved member of staff over in Norfolk.”

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