The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted a Zoom call with Canadian healthcare workers as a way to mark Canada Day, Canada’s national holiday.
The Royal Family YouTube page posted the seven-minute video with the description that William and Kate wanted to “thank staff at Fraser Health’s Surrey Memorial Hospital in British Columbia, and frontline workers across Canada for their efforts in helping to protect and support their communities.”
On the call, William and Kate were joined by six staff members at Fraser Health’s Surrey Memorial Hospital.
“We’ve been really, really fortunate, we’ve had tremendous leadership,” Dr. Gregory Haljan, the head of critical care at the hospital told William and Kate. He noted that the novel coronavirus arrived in British Columbia earlier than other Canadian provinces, and that the hospital leadership had been planning for the outbreak since February.
“We’ve made it through the surge and now we’re into the recovery phase,” he said.
William then asked the team what their biggest challenge had been in adapting to the new reality forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and another medical professional said that not being able to meet with families, as they provide family-focused care in addition to patient-focused care, has been a real challenge.
“It’s impacted patients’ mental health and their families’ mental health,” Sunny Dulai, a health care social worker told the royals. “These families can’t come in to see patients. They can’t come in to see their loved ones. They can’t be a part of their care. And so it’s a lot of distress, I think, all the way around.”
Kate then asked how the team manages themselves, their mental health. One healthcare worker replies that they’ve relied on their family members outside of work to help them through.
Kate said, “It’s an amazing role that you’re playing and a hugely tough one as well, so we’re in huge admiration for everything you’re doing.”
William added, “Catherine and I just wanted to just touch base and say how proud we are of all of you and everyone on the front line who have led the way, very stoically, very bravely and put patient care right at the top of the list, and done a fantastic job.
“So, well done to all of you, and I hope Catherine and I can come and visit you guys one day and say that to you in person.”
Canada has had over 104,000 cases of COVID-19, with 67,327 recovered cases and 8,591 deaths since the pandemic began.