Covid-19: Duchess of Cambridge thanks retired nurses on video call

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media captionCoranavirus: Kate thanks retired nurses for their efforts

Two nurses who came out of retirement to volunteer for the Covid-19 vaccination programme have been praised by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Caroline Rudd and Judith Smith, who met when they began their training in 1978, have been helping carry out vaccinations in care homes.

The nurses were among staff from University Hospital in Coventry who spoke to the royal on a video call.

The duchess heard how "incredibly difficult" the pandemic had been.

Ms Smith, who retired three years ago and had returned to work for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), said it was an "honour" to be thanked by the duchess, adding "it makes it all worthwhile".

"It's nice to be recognised," said Ms Smith. "It is particularly great to know we've touched individual patients' lives."

image copyrightNHS England handout
image captionFriends Caroline Rudd and Judith Smith, who qualified together in 1978 and retired in 2018, have been vaccinating care home residents

During Tuesday's video call, the duchess also praised the actions of a senior nurse for "going the extra mile" after hearing he had held a dying patient's hand and played his favourite band Bon Jovi after his wife could not make it to his bedside.

Vasu Lingappa jokingly told her the patient's wife had wanted him to sing but that he had declined because of his strong Asian accent and played it off his phone.

He also told the duchess that working through the pandemic had been "tough".

"We are nurses working in critical care for 30 years, 35 years, 40 years - so there is nothing they haven't seen, but this is unprecedented," he said.

Speaking from the Queen's Norfolk residence Sandringham, the duchess asked the nurses: "How are everyone's spirits?"

Professor Nina Morgan, UHCW chief nursing officer, replied some nurses were finding it "incredibly difficult".

"When I'm walking round the ward and speaking to nurses, there are some who are absolutely visibly distressed and upset by what they're seeing and what they're experiencing," she said.

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