On Thursday 21 February 2013, HRH The Prince of Wales visited staff, patients and supporters at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
During the visit, The Prince was introduced to children and families on the oncology wards, including those that had used the complementary therapy suite. The Prince also met neurology patients and Professor Helen Cross, holder of the Prince of Wales’s Chair for Childhood Epilepsy, who gave him a tour of the neurology ward.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Chief Executive Jan Filochowski welcomed the Prince and accompanied him on his tour of the hospital.
He said: "We were delighted that The Prince of Wales was able to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital and meet so many of our patients and the staff that care for them. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to show him round our hospital and in particular showcase our new state-of-the-art neurology ward, where some of the UK’s most complex epilepsy patients are looked after by the biggest neurosciences team in the country."
On Elephant and Lion oncology wards The Prince met key nursing staff and six-year-old Joseph Black and his parents Pippa and Jeremy, from London. Joseph, who was wearing a crown that he had made with his play worker especially for the occasion, said The Prince was "very kind". "He asked me about my Airfix kit and said he'd loved making them when he was a little boy. He said that he used to get the glue all over his fingers and I said that I never did!"
Pippa Black commented: "The Prince asked us about our routine and how we keep a sense of normality to life. He asked Joe if he did his school work and I was proud to say that he does!"
The Prince was also shown the Complementary Therapy Suite, where children and young people on the ward are now being offered massage as part of their care.
Jenni Hallman, the Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist said: “The Complementary Therapy Programme at GOSH, which is funded by charitable support, is only in its infancy but is already getting really positive feedback from our patients and their parents. The Prince was very interested to hear about how the children are benefiting from the therapy, including ways it’s helping them to relax, sleep and how it can often be a distraction from the pain of their treatment."
Eleven-year-old Marcus Henson is one of the patients on the ward who regularly works with the Complementary Therapy Nurse Specialist. He said: "The Prince was really warm and friendly. He seemed genuinely interested in me and my family and asked lots of questions about my treatment."
Koala Ward, which houses neurosciences, is based in the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building which first opened in June 2012 as part of the Mittal Children's Medical Centre. On the visit, Professor Helen Cross explained to The Prince the benefits of the new 24-bedded area, which had brought neurology and neurosurgery bed spaces together for the first time. The tour took in facilities for monitoring brain activity of children with complex epilepsy.
Professor Cross said: "It was a privilege to meet The Prince again and show him first-hand how neurology patients are benefiting from vastly improved facilities within the new clinical building and most particularly, here at Europe’s foremost referral centre for epilepsy. The Prince is very interested in our epilepsy service and how we can continue to improve outcomes for patients with this condition."
On the ward The Prince met eight-year-old epilepsy patient Katie Tuffin and her mother Emma, from Cambridgeshire. The Prince sat down with Katie and rolled some Play-Doh.
The Prince is no stranger to Great Ormond Street Hospital. In 2006 he visited the then recently opened Octav Botnar Wing. His Royal Highness was also a patron of the 'Wishing Well Appeal', which was launched in 1987 to raise money for much-needed redevelopment.
The Prince of Wales was also treated at the hospital as a boy when he was found to be suffering from appendicitis.