The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today visited Newham Ambulance Station in East London - and ended up speaking to a paramedic’s dad in Bangladesh on FaceTime.
While chatting to ambulance staff and paramedics about their experiences of working during the pandemic, Jahrin (Jay) Khan asked if it was okay to call her dad Abu.
She then FaceTimed him in Bangladesh where he has been staying separated from his family since the lockdown after his mother became sick.
William said: “You must be very proud of your daughter.”
Abu said: “Yes we are all very proud of her.”
Then Jay’s sister Nasrin and granddad Baharam in the UK.
The couple spoke to staff about the problems they faced during one of the most challenging periods in the London Ambulance Service’s history.
William and Kate joined paramedic Jay in the Station’s Wellbeing Garden to hear how she has coped with the pressures of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and including impact of having to isolate from her family.
They also met paramedic Shani Smith who has been helping to run one of the special tea trucks to serve ambulance staff and medics over the past year, and heard how she has used her mental health training to provide peer support to her colleagues.
Shani, who has worked for the service for over 20 years, said this was the worst time she had experienced.
“It’s been like one long major incident.”
During the visit, the couple were pictured standing in front of a “Healing Hurt” heart mural - complete with a crown.
The street art - in the station’s wellbeing garden - featured a red heart mended with two plasters, beneath a golden crown, and above the words in capitals “Healing Hurt”.
The colourful murals were by street art group Art Under The Hood.
The couple talk with the family of paramedic Jay Khan via a mobile phone
The couple also heard more about the mental health and wellbeing support provided to staff at the Station, including drop-in sessions and wellbeing spaces, alongside some of the wider initiatives provided by the London Ambulance Service including their fleet of Wellbeing Tea Trucks.
Launched in February 2020, the tea trucks travel to hospitals and control centres across the capital each day, serving hot drinks and snacks to ambulance staff and volunteers and offering them the chance to take a moment to pause and refresh.
The trucks also allow staff who are currently unable to work in patient-facing roles the opportunity to give back to their frontline colleagues. Covering the boroughs of Newham and Waltham Forest, Newham Station forms part of the second busiest station group in the London Ambulance Service having attended over 76,500 calls over the past year.
William is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the emergency services community, having witnessed first-hand the challenges that emergency responders face on a daily basis during his roles as both an Air Ambulance and RAF Search and Rescue pilot.
Over the last year, William and Kate and The Royal Foundation have worked to support those working on the frontline of the pandemic, including through the provision of grants to ten leading charities at the heart of mental health and frontline support as part of a bespoke COVID relief fund.
The London Ambulance Service has received £100,000 of funding from NHS Charities Together, of which the couple are joint Patrons, to enable them to continue to run the trucks and expand their provision in order to meet the needs of crew and volunteers during this challenging time. The funding has also been used to create isolation packs and food for staff across LAS sites.
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