THE Princess Royal has visited Scarborough Hospital to see how the NHS has risen to the challenges of the past few months and to thank staff.

Since the start of the pandemic, Scarborough Hospital has cared for 319 patients with Covid-19 across a total of five wards which at the height of the outbreak were turned into Covid wards in order to provide the right care and keep patients safe.

This saw many staff redeployed from their normal duties, quickly adopting new skills to support Covid patients.

Princess Anne was met by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Johanna Ropner, Dr Ed Smith, clinical director at Scarborough Hospital and Susan Symington, chairperson of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

During the visit, Princess Anne officially opened the Willow Eye Unit where she heard how the new unit had seen significant investment in brand new diagnostic equipment and clinical, nursing and technical staff which has allowed services to expand to meet the demand of the local population.

She also visited the PPE store which was key to managing the stocks of PPE during the height of the pandemic.

The Princess met staff from a wide number of services and professions, including porters and domestic staff, all of whom have played a crucial role in providing care for patients with Covid-19.

Dr Ed Smith said: “It has been an honour to welcome The Princess Royal to Scarborough to meet our teams of staff and to recognise their efforts in response to the Covid pandemic. I am very proud of the contribution all our colleagues have made, and continue to make, as we battle to contain the virus and the visit today will help to strengthen our resolve as we enter what is undoubtedly going to be a challenging winter period.”

Susan Symington, chair of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to Scarborough Hospital. Our staff have experienced the most challenging year in their NHS career so far and this visit from Her Royal Highness has provided an enormous boost to morale.”