Thrill of Evelina Children’s hospital patient at meeting the Duke of Cambridge
A young patient who was treated to a surprise visit by the second in line to the throne has told of her shock at the experience.
The Duke of Cambridge raised eyebrows with his newly shaved head when he dropped in on Evelina Children’s Hospital last month to launch a scheme to find ex-service personnel jobs in the NHS.
But it was 14-year-old patient Aidah who was perhaps most surprised by the Prince’s appearance. She said: “I didn’t know he was coming until today and when they told me I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was a joke. When he came in I was talking to my nurse and then he walked past and I nearly hyperventilated.”
The youngster, who is waiting for a kidney transplant on Beach Ward, said the Duke quizzed her on whether her dialysis treatment hurt, before she gave him a grilling about the third child he and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting in April.
“I asked about the gender of his new baby but he said that only Catherine knew,” Aidah said. “I suggested he name the baby after me, Aidah, or if it’s a boy, Aiden.”
The Duke was visiting the hospital, on Westminster Bridge Road, to mark the national rollout of the “Step into Health” programme, a scheme aimed at getting ex-military personnel into the NHS.
Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Evelina, has employed 12 people through the programme as part of a pilot. Neil McKie, a former army officer who trained with Prince
William at Sandhurst, is among those whose skills in the armed forces won him a job in the health service.
The deputy service manager, who met the Prince during the visit, said: “Being ex-military the Duke understands what it’s like to leave the armed forces.
“There are ex-service people who can add value to the NHS. It’s been proven by people like me.”
Sir Hugh Taylor, the chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Life back on civvy street can be a daunting prospect after years in the armed forces. Step into Health recognises that the skills and values developed whilst serving in the military can be readily transferred into a career in the NHS.”
The Duke’s visit was the first time he has been seen in public since he chose to shave his head. The Royal Family are said to often tease the prince over his receding hairline.