HRH visits the Royal Bournemouth Hospital

HRH visits the Royal Bournemouth Hospital
HRH visits the Royal Bournemouth Hospital

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the Royal Bournemouth Hospital on Friday 6th May to recognise all that NHS staff and patients have been through during the past two years.  
During his visit, The Prince of Wales met staff from across University Hospitals Dorset and visited the new operating theatre that will help with the backlog of patients requiring elective operations since the pandemic. He then officially opened the hospital’s new Lavender Garden, dedicated to the memory of colleagues who have died and a special area for staff to rest, reflect and recharge.
The new operating theatre was built in a matter of months and will open its doors to patients next week. It forms part of The Derwent, normally used for elective operations and after care. However during the Covid pandemic, elective work was paused and the Derwent became a palliative care unit.
Clinical director of trauma and orthopaedics, Mr Paul Pavlou, said: “It’s fantastic to get the recognition from The Prince of Wales of all the hard work we’ve put in over Covid and the tremendous effort to recover from the pandemic. We need bold initiatives and investment into theatres like this to make sure we don’t have long waiting lists for years, and it’s a privilege to be able to show him this today.”
After a tour of the theatre, HRH then spoke to members of staff from across the hospital trust who went above and beyond during the Covid pandemic. They included members of the operating theatres team who went to work in intensive care to support the numbers of sick patients, staff who moved out of their homes during Covid so they could continue to work on the front line, and UHD colleagues who were in intensive care with Covid but returned to work as soon as they could once they recovered.
Louise Pennington, lead palliative care nurse, said: “I’m unbelievably proud of all our teams and for all they did during the pandemic to ensure compassionate and safe visiting for patients at the end of their lives. We pulled together to focus on what matters most to our patients and having His Royal Highness here is great recognition of all we’ve been through.”
On his way to the Lavender Garden, Prince Charles walked alongside the hospital’s lake and spoke to members of the trust’s estate team to learn more about the benefits of green spaces to both staff and patients.
He then unveiled a plaque in the new Lavender Garden and met relatives and colleagues of hospital staff who have passed away. The garden is a peaceful oasis for staff and was funded by generous donations to our University Hospital Dorset NHS Charity.
The Lavender Garden was originally proposed by the hospital’s theatres team as a space to remember their dear friends and colleagues, Anna and Tom, who they sadly lost to cancer in 2020.
Donna Bailey, surgical first assistant, explained: “Just before Anna died, I gave her a bunch of lavender from my garden, and that’s where the idea for this special space came from. This has since grown into a garden for all staff so we can have a peaceful place to decompress during difficult shifts, to recharge after a long day inside, and to reflect on those we have lost. It’s been wonderful to see the garden celebrated by The Prince of Wales, and for the relatives and generous donors to come together on this very special day.”
HRH was accompanied on his visit by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, The Hon Mrs. Charlotte Townshend, the hospital’s acting CEO Paula Shobbrook, and acting Chairman Philip Green.   
Professor Shobbrook said: “It has been an honour to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales today and have the opportunity for him to meet some of the dedicated people who go above and beyond every day to care for our patients. It has been a very challenging few years for all of us, and our teams have demonstrated remarkable resilience and compassion during difficult times. I am very proud of all they do, and I’m also grateful to our University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity for enabling us to place a special focus on staff wellbeing with our new Lavender Garden.”  


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