A Portering Supervisor working at Craigavon Area Hospital has received a personal telephone call from His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge, to hear how his team have contributed to the smooth functioning of the busy hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prince William made the call to John Brown last week.
Speaking after the phone call, John, who has worked as a porter for 20 years, and is a supervisor of a team of 55, said that Prince William “was very down to earth”.
“It was definitely something different for a Thursday morning! It was a really nice conversation and it was a pleasure speaking with him,” he said.
“The first thing he asked was about the weather and if we had any snow! He then asked how we are all doing and about the challenges that our department has faced.
“I explained that we had a busy month in January but that our biggest challenge was when at one point, over a two week period, we had 17 staff absent, either through positive Covid tests or self-isolation.
“This was a challenge but I told him our staff have been fantastic, we are a real team and it has been a pleasure to work with so many dedicated people.
“He was glad to hear that everyone in the team has recovered well.”
During the five minute phone call the Prince also asked about the role the porters play in the hospital.
Said John: “He asked what sort of jobs the porters do in Craigavon and I explained that anything that moves in Craigavon, it is my department that moves it! We are involved in security, moving patients, ensuring the safe transportation of medication, Covid and blood samples, we are a jack of all trades and he had a bit of a laugh at that.
“At the end of the conversation he said that he hoped to be in Craigavon some day and maybe he would meet us in person and I told him he would be more than welcome to come to Craigavon Hospital and we would make him feel right at home.”
Anita Caroll, Assistant Director of Support Services, said: “Throughout the pandemic, the portering team have adapted and responded to the challenges of wearing PPE, social distancing and the huge changes that have been made around the site.
“They have shown great commitment and flexibility, moving site if needed, and always willing to cover extra shifts with increased staffing issues due to Covid-19 and they have shown great compassion for their colleagues and patients during such a stressful time. We are very proud of them all.”