Kate Middleton makes surprise hospital visit to survivors of London terror attacks
The Duchess of Cambridge has paid a surprise visit to survivors of the London terror attacks, quietly meeting with victims and staff at King's College Hospital.
The Duchess arrived at the south east London hospital at 1.50pm, for a visit that was not publicised in advance to enable staff to continue to treat those affected without disruption.
In total 14 victims were taken to King’s, one of whom was ‘walking wounded’ and able to leave quickly after being seen by emergency staff.
The remaining 13 required treatment for stab wounds of varying severity. Seven were in a critical condition and are still receiving round-the-clock treatment.
She asked about the roles of staff and praised their efforts, saying: "Well done. What you do is remarkable."
"I suppose at the time you didn’t know how big or what the extent of the incident was," the Duchess added.
"You just got your heads down and got on with it. The response was amazing.
"I presume you are trained to cope with this but hope this kind of incident never happens."
She asked another member of the medical team: "Do you get emotional support too for what you are having to deal with? ‘
"We look after each other, we really do," she was told.
The Duchess was met by Nick Moberly, the hospital’s chief executive, and medical director Professor Julia Wendon.
She was also introduced to two of the hospital’s team leaders trained to deal with major incidents, Jane Bond of Gold Command and Silver Command’s Mark Madams.
Malcolm Tunnicliff, clinical director of the emergency department, who was returning to London from a cricket match that day and dropped everything to head straight to the hospital, said of the royal visit: "I think the Duchess was really affected by the dedication of the staff and how resilient they are. They are very proud to work for King’s and the NHS.
"We prepare for incidents like this 24 hours a day but it’s really nice when someone like the Duchess of Cambridge comes in and sees what we do first hand and says thanks.
"It gives the patients a lift, it gives the staff a lift that they are being recognised."
Dr Tunnicliff added of the attack: "We are one of the busiest hospitals in western Europe in terms of dealing with stabbing incidents. But it was the volume in such a short space of time. We went through a week’s worth of kit in just an hour and a half.
"And while we were are quite used to dealing with young men that stab each other, this time there were quite a lot of ladies who had suffered serious, multiple injuries. That was quite shocking to many.
"The Duchess was surprised to hear that."
She is will later spend time privately at the bedsides of those still requiring treatment. Most, a hospital spokesman said, are now well enough to speak.
Before she leaves, the Duchess will meet with senior hospital officials to learn about the psychological support which has been made available to staff and patients following the attacks.
Speaking about the visit, a royal aide said:"Although the story has moved on publicly this is a chance to thank the staff and reassure those still in hospital, many of whom have families with them, that people very much care."
The latest London terror attack saw three terrorists crash a car into crowds on London Bridge before attacking innocent bystanders in Borough Market with knives. All three were shot dead by police.
The Duchess' unexpected arrival follows a similar visit by her father-in-law, the Prince of Wales, and Duchess of Cornwall last week.
Then, the Royal couple spent time with those injured in the attack at the Royal London Hospital, thanking medical staff and volunteers and talking to patients.
The Duchess said their dedication showed "Britain at its best".
The attack left eight people dead and 48 being treated at Kings College Hospital, Guy's and St Thomas', University College London Hospitals, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for their injuries.
Last month, the Queen visited survivors of the Manchester bombing in hospital, and the Duke of Cambridge praised Manchester police and first responders for their work.