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Prince of Wales gets warm welcome at the Trust

17 June 2021

The Prince of Wales visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital today to meet some of our apprentices supported into work by the Prince’s Trust

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales paid a visit to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital today to meet some of our young apprentices who have been supported into work by the Prince’s Trust. The Prince thanked the apprentices and our other staff for their service during the pandemic.

“It was a pleasure to welcome The Prince today,” said Lesley Watts CEO. “We are great believers in the apprenticeship programme, finding it an excellent way to bring staff into nursing and allied professions as well as recruiting and training for our non-clinical roles. The Trust has 210 apprentices and the Prince’s Trust Health and Social Care Programme helped us recruit from the communities we serve.” 

Several of our apprentices spoke about their ambitions to move up from healthcare assistants to specialist nursing roles.

The Prince of Wales also met colleagues from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust benefiting from the same programme, and colleagues from the London Ambulance Service.

The Prince’s tour at our Chelsea site included:

  • The CW+ Medicinema, which provides patients and their families with a full cinema experience, including facilities for patients to come in their bed if needed
  • Opening the hospital welfare garden, kindly gifted by AMAFFI Perfume House and designed and maintained by Jamie Butterworth. His Royal Highness planted a commemorative cherry tree and unveiled a plaque. This is a much-valued facility for staff following the pandemic, where the need for a quiet space is much appreciated.

Earlier in the day Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock visited our newly expanded intensive care unit, before meeting The Prince of Wales. He thanked staff and volunteers for their hard work during the pandemic, in recovering our services, and in the vaccination campaign.

Cess Quiambao, Head of Apprenticeships said: “This is the first time I’ve met a member of the Royal family… he said we were doing a fantastic job in providing opportunities. It’s a proud moment for me and the Trust that the hard work of the apprentices and our Trust is being acknowledged.”

Alice De Brunner, Administrator apprentice in Patient Access at Chelsea said: “It was really exciting to meet the Prince of Wales and Health Secretary. I am glad I got the opportunity. The visit is the cherry on top of the whole thing.”

Chumporn Poolpunt, Healthcare Assistant at West Mid met the Prince in the cinema. He said: “It’s been a nervous but exciting experience. The Prince of Wales is a really pleasant man, he asked about my family and about my experiences. It’s been a great 12 weeks so far at the Trust so far, learning about my role, working on the ward and trying to be the best I can in looking after our patients. I’m hoping to do a nursing apprenticeship in the future and progress my career here. There are a lot of opportunities for me to pursue.”

Sophie Crossland, Healthcare Assistant at Chelsea helped plant the tree. She said: “It’s been a great experience. I have been doing the role for the last three months so for the Prince to show an interest in my role and where I came from before was really nice as well. There are so many pathways available to me now, now I just need to research them all!”

The Prince of Wales took the opportunity to issue some strong criticism about violence and abuse against NHS staff by a minority of the public. This has been widely reported.


The Prince of Wales speaks with Chumporn Poolpunt
The Prince of Wales speaks with Chumporn Poolpunt

Sophie Crossland and the Prince of Wales plant a commemorative cherry tree
Sophie Crossland and the Prince of Wales plant a commemorative cherry tree

Staff in the AMAFFI garden at Chelsea and Westminster HospitalStaff in the AMAFFI garden at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Matt Hancock views a model of the Sky GardenMatt Hancock views a model of the Sky Garden