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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit our Integrated Urgent Care Centre for south east London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited our Integrated Urgent Care Centre for south east London on Thursday 19 March to meet staff who have been taking NHS 111 calls from the public, and thank them for the vital work they are doing.Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to LAS Chief Executive and call handler in control room

During the visit, Their Royal Highnesses spoke to staff members and our chief executive, Garrett Emmerson, about how we are dealing with the increase in demand on the NHS 111 service. They also heard about how members of the public can help alleviate pressure on the system by using advice available online at before contacting 111.

The Duke of Cambridge said:

“The last few weeks, and more recent days have been understandably concerning with the continuing spread of coronavirus. But it’s at times like this when we realise just how much the NHS represents the very best of our country and society – people from all backgrounds and walks of life with different experiences and skills, pulling together for the common good.

“Not only are NHS staff and emergency workers responding to the needs of the public, they – like the rest of us – are concerned about their families, friends and loved ones.  They need our support as much as we need theirs.

“That is why Catherine and I were proud to visit staff working at NHS 111, to pass on our personal thanks, along with those of my grandmother and father, to staff working around the clock to provide care and advice to those that need it most.. It was also brilliant to see the great online tools for those with mild symptoms or worries.”

“All of us have a part to play if we’re going to protect the most vulnerable.  That means acting on the latest expert advice, staying home if we or those we live with have symptoms, and avoiding non-essential contact to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

Garrett Emmerson, chief executive of London Ambulance Service said:

“Our staff are working incredibly hard in all four of our call centres taking more than twice as many calls as usual. It has therefore been an incredible boost to staff to be able to meet with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their Royal Highnesses spoke to some of our 111 call handlers and clinicians who are extraordinarily busy as we work hard to support Londoners and the wider NHS.”

The London Ambulance Service takes NHS 111 calls through control rooms in Croydon and Barking, which have currently been receiving at least five times the usual rate of calls. Our Service also operates two 999 control rooms which have been receiving nearly 8,000 calls a day.

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