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Prince William visits Royal Marsden Hospital to discuss mental health support

Matron Aly Foyle tells Duke of Cambridge that staff can face psychological strain too

Matron Aly Foyle tells Duke of Cambridge that staff can face psychological strain too


Prince William talks to matron Aly Foyle (second from right) and colleagues.  
Picture: Kensington Palace

A nurse has told Prince William about the psychological and emotional toll on staff who care for seriously ill patients.

The Duke of Cambridge visited The Royal Marsden Hospital in London yesterday, where he spoke with nurses and patients about the mental health impact of cancer treatment.

A nurse’s story

Matron Aly Foyle shared her own mental health experiences with him.

Discussing her 30-year nursing career, Ms Foyle said working with seriously ill patients, some of which die, ‘took its toll’ on her.

She was diagnosed with stress, depression and compassion fatigue in December 2017 when she was a sister.

Prince William uses his Heads Together campaign to promote greater awareness of mental health issues, and access to support.  

High-profile advocate

Ms Foyle said he was approachable and empathetic to the issues that nursing staff face.

‘He said that [considering] what we do, and what we deal with all the time, he can really see how that could impact us,’ she said.

‘It’s nice to know that you have somebody in his position who is an advocate for raising awareness and very openly, so it was great.’

The Royal Marsden supported Ms Foyle while she was on sick leave following her 2017 diagnosis, arranging regular meetings with occupational health specialists. On her return to work, she saw a staff counsellor on a weekly basis.

Value of experience

Ms Foyle has since been promoted to matron, and said that what she went through meant she was in a better position to support other staff.

‘I think the trust realised that the whole experience made me a lot stronger, and it puts me in a better position as a manager to be able to support my staff,’ she said.

Help at hand

During his visit, Prince William also met patients who are supported by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity that provides psychological support from specialist nurse counsellors, a psychologist and a psychiatrist, including a dedicated team for children and young people.

The visit was arranged specifically to promote The Royal Marsden’s support programme, which provides the trust’s staff with psychological and emotional assistance.  


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