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Princess Anne visits NHS staff in Rotherham and Sheffield

by Katie Balfe

The Princess Royal spent yesterday in South Yorkshire, where she carried out engagements at Rotherham General Hospital and Sheffield Hospital, spending time with midwives, nurses and their patients.

Princess Anne’s first engagement of the day was a visit to the Maternity Unit at Rotherham; the World Health Organisation has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and The Midwife, with the Princess being patron of the Royal College of Midwives.

The unit at Rotherham is up for two Royal College of Midwife awards this year, for the Midwifery Service of the Year, and also Midwife of the Year, which category has nominated Emma Carver. The visit followed a letter of thanks to midwives from the royal, who is at the beginning of this year.

Princess Anne visited two hospitals in south Yorkshire (Royal Family)

The Princess toured the unit, taking in both the Delivery Suit and the Antenatal Day Unit where she spoke to parents, midwives, students midwives, maternity support workers and others. She was also briefed and updated on the maternity unit’s future plans and expansions – which includes the creation of a brand new bereavement suite.

Following the visit, June Lovett, Associate Chief Nurse and Head of Midwifery at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said that Anne was “just really interested in our services and in our maternity care and in our development and in the involvement of our patients. She was very engaging and appreciative of the work that goes on here and we were all absolutely delighted to welcome her.”

The Princess Royal at Rotherham maternity unit; Anne is patron of the Royal College of Midwives. (Royal Family)

Speaking to one patient who had recently given birth and was still at the hospital, Anne said: “You look remarkably well.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, echoes Mrs Lovett when she said: “It is wonderful for the unit to be visited by The Princess Royal, especially during international Year of the Midwife. They were able to showcase the wonderful work of the midwives, maternity support workers and the wider maternity team.

“This is a service investing in its staff and its services. It is supporting them to offer even better care and facilities for mothers, babies and their families.”

The Princess Royal meets midwives and staff at Rotherham, including a midwife of the year nominee, Emma Carver (C) (Royal Family)

The second visit of the day was to nearby Sheffield, where the Royal joined staff, patients and guests to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the opening of The Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre. 25 years and four days previously, on the 1st February 1995, Anne – who is patron of the Spinal Injuries Association – first visited the centre to officially open it.

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Since 1995, The Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Centre has become one of the leading Spinal Injury Centres in the UK. The centre cares for people who have sustained Spinal Cord injuries due to either a traumatic or non-traumatic cause (eg. road traffic accidents, sports injuries, falls, infections etc). The specialist teams at the centre also care for those with other neurological conditions, such as Spina Bifida and Multiple Sclerosis.

The Queen's daughter toured the centre, speaking with patients on the wards and joining in an art therapy session. She also saw how hydrotherapy is being used to support patients' rehabilitation, before meeting with members of staff who have worked there since the day it opened - that must have been a real trip down memory lane for Anne!

To finish her visit, The Princess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

Following the visit, both staff and patients spoke about the visit. Tony Peddar, Chairman of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We were delighted to welcome The Princess Royal back to the Centre [she] opened 25 years ago. The Princess Royal has a long association with our centre as well as being Patron of the Spinal Injuries Association.

"We were very proud to show Her Royal Highness some of the wonderful new facilities we have created here and the way treatments and rehabilitation have developed over the years to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of spinal injury care.”

Kavina Trofan, a nurse at the Centre, said that it was “lovely to welcome The Princess Royal back to our Unit, particularly as I was here to meet Her Royal Highness when the building was officially opened 25 years ago at the start of my career. It was great to see the Princess Royal speaking with patients and my colleagues and hearing about how things have developed.”

While David Turton, a patient, said that he was “pleased that The Princess Royal was able to visit today to see for herself what a credit the teams are to the NHS and how lucky we are to have such a Centre on our doorstep."

A busy day for Princess Anne, as usual, but one where she drew attention to the important work carried out by midwives, nurses and others within the NHS.

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