HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets CLCH staff at Wembley Vaccination Centre visit
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, yesterday visited Wembley vaccination centre to meet NHS Volunteer Responder Volunteers and NHS staff who have supported the vaccine rollout during the pandemic. Among those to meet the Duchess of Cornwall was Anne Marie Tiernan, Cardiology Nurse Consultant at CLCH, who has been redeployed as a Clinical Lead at Wembley vaccination centre.
The Duchess of Cornwall thanked the volunteers on the frontline of the vaccination effort and shared words of encouragement to those waiting for their jabs. “It feels like the first step of freedom, I certainly felt like that [after getting the vaccine]”, Her Royal Highness commented, adding “I hope you’re able to be reunited with your grandchildren, I think we’re all looking forward to that!”
The Duchess took the time to speak with and thank NHS staff for their efforts, including Anne-Marie, who commented afterwards: "There was a real sense of excitement about the impending visit from HRH Duchess of Cornwall. I was one of the lucky few selected to meet her, alongside staff that included pharmacy, operations, front of house, administration and the medical director, as well as some volunteers.
“She asked me about my role at the vaccination centre and commented on how different it was in comparison to my usual role as a Cardiology Nurse Consultant. I highlighted how much I was enjoying the role and what great integration had been achieved working with the different trusts and other RHCPs (Registered Health Care Professionals).
“The Duchess of Cornwall came across as very warm and interested in what we had to say and I felt privileged and grateful that she took the time to come and meet the team at Wembley. It certainly put a spring in our step for the rest of the day!”
Stewards help on site by guiding people to make sure the vaccination process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They help ensure social distancing and identify people who need additional support.
The visit comes as the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme, delivered by the Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app, announced that its volunteers had answered more than 1.5 million requests for help throughout the pandemic.
This includes support with tasks such as shopping and prescription collection, transport to and from vital medical appointments and stewarding at vaccination sites. The volunteers also provide “check in and chat calls” for those who might be feeling isolated, something Her Royal Highness has done herself.
Pippa Nightingale, Chief Nursing Officer for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Volunteers are a crucial part of the Wembley Vaccination Centre, and all vaccination centres across the country. They provide a friendly face to those who are coming for their vaccination and provide reassurance to those who might be nervous or unsure about where to go and what to do. They deserve all the recognition they get, and more.”
Sam Ward, Deputy CEO of Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our President HRH The Duchess of Cornwall for visiting the vaccination site and showing her support of the NHS Volunteer Responder Volunteers. Each and every volunteer who stepped forward to support the NHS and their community is a hero in my eyes. We truly appreciate the continued efforts of our volunteers during the pandemic and as the vaccination programme moves forward.”