Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Newham paramedics in East Ham

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate speak with staff at Newham Ambulance Station.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate during their visit to Newham Ambulance Station. - Credit: CJ CLARKE/LAS

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited East Ham to speak to ambulance staff and paramedics about their experiences of working during the pandemic.

At Newham Ambulance Station today (March 18), William and Kate heard from paramedic Jahrin Khan about how she has coped with the pressures of responding to the Covid-19 crisis, including the impact of having to isolate from her family.

William and Kate during their visit to Newham Ambulance Station.

William and Kate spoke with paramedics and staff at the station in East Ham about their experiences during the Covid pandemic. - Credit: CJ CLARKE/LAS

The Royal couple also heard more about the mental health and wellbeing support provided to staff at the station, including drop-in sessions and wellbeing spaces alongside wider London Ambulance Service (LAS) initiatives.

LAS deputy chief executive Khadir Meer, who welcomed the couple, said: “Our service has had to work harder than ever over the past year to care for London.

"It’s vital and extremely rewarding work, but it can take a toll and even the most resilient of us need support at times like these.

"Looking after our people is essential to continue to care for Londoners. This is why we are trying to do everything we can to support the physical and mental health of our teams working under such pressure."

During their visit to the station in Wellington Road, William and Kate also met paramedic Shani Smith, who has been helping to run one of the LAS wellbeing tea trucks over the past year.

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They spoke about how she has used her mental health training to provide peer support to her colleagues.

Launched in February last year, the tea trucks travel to hospitals and control centres each day, serving hot drinks and snacks to ambulance staff and volunteers and offering them a chance to pause and refresh.

The trucks also allow staff who are currently unable to work in patient-facing roles the opportunity to give back to their frontline colleagues.

William and Kate speaking with staff and paramedics at Newham Ambulance Station.

The Duke and Duchess heard about mental health and wellbeing support being provided by the East Ham station and by London Ambulance Service more widely. - Credit: CJ CLARKE/LAS

LAS chair Heather Lawrence OBE said: “It is very much appreciated that their Royal Highnesses took time to visit and thank our staff who have worked throughout the pandemic often in very stressful and distressing circumstances."

The Newham station, which covers the borough and Waltham Forest, forms part of the second busiest LAS station group, having attended more than 76,500 calls over the past year.