North East nurses thanked by royalty in aftermath of London Bridge attack

Natalie Poole meets the Duchess of Cornwall during the visit she made with the Prince of Wales to the Royal London Hospital.
Natalie Poole meets the Duchess of Cornwall during the visit she made with the Prince of Wales to the Royal London Hospital.

An anaesthetic nurse and a matron who battled their way to reach hospital so she could help the victims of Saturday's terror attack in London have been thanked by the Prince of Wales.

Natalie Poole, from Durham, and matron Nicola Rudkin were among NHS workers who rushed to their places of work after they heard about the tragedy on Saturday night.

Nursing staff meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture by Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

Nursing staff meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture by Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

In a visit to the Royal London Hospital, where 12 injured victims were taken, showed "Britain at its best", according to the the Duchess of Cornwall said as she met hospital patients and workers.

The royal couple were shown around the hospital, in the east of the city, by Barts Health NHS Trust chief executive Alwen Williams and A&E clinical director Dr Malik Ramadhan.

Staff told how passers-by had stopped to help as the incident unfolded, at times simply by talking to the victims to keep them conscious.

Camilla said: "It's Britain at its best isn't it?

The Prince of Wales is shown around the Royal London Hospital as he meets staff who helped treat victims of the van and knife attack on London Bridge. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

The Prince of Wales is shown around the Royal London Hospital as he meets staff who helped treat victims of the van and knife attack on London Bridge. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

"Everybody pulls together, there doesn't seem to be any panic."

She added: "Everybody gets on and does their job."

After the prince asked how they all managed to make it in to work at such short notice, Ms Poole told him she had walked the remaining two miles to the hospital after getting a taxi from her home in Battersea.

He told the 34-year-old and her co-workers: "I have so much admiration for all you are doing, it's a fantastic team."

Staff watch as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the Royal London Hospital to meet members of the public who were injured in the terrorist incident at London Bridge. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

Staff watch as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the Royal London Hospital to meet members of the public who were injured in the terrorist incident at London Bridge. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

Ms Poole and her colleagues said six patients were taken into surgery in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Nicola, from Stanley and Darlington, is a matron on the adult critical care unit at the hospital and accompanied the royal couple as they visited the hospital.

The 36-year-old said: "I wasn't on duty on Saturday but I saw the events on the news so contacted my department and came in straight away and spent the night on the unit supporting my team,

"As matron, I'm incredibly proud of their efforts and they did a phenomenal job and were calm and professional in really emotional circumstances, providing care to all our patients and supporting the victims' families."

A hospital worker meets the Prince of Wales during a visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture by Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

A hospital worker meets the Prince of Wales during a visit to the Royal London Hospital. Picture by Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

Also among those who met the royals were Dr Chris Lambert and paramedic Tracy Porter, who were called to the north end of the bridge as reports of the attack emerged.

They said they saw victims with stab wounds and those who had been run over by the van.

Camilla told them patients were in "the best possible hands".

Speaking afterwards, Dr Lambert said: "In a way we see those kind of injuries every day, but obviously not in such great numbers and in such a sort of intense, emotional scene with so much else going on."

Charles told staff at the adult critical care unit who thanked him for visiting: "It was the least I could do."

Among the patients visited by Charles and Camilla was Sunday Express business editor Geoff Ho, who was stabbed in the neck.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are greeted at the hospital by police. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are greeted at the hospital by police. Peter Nicholls/PA Wire.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Ho released a statement telling how he was injured while trying to protect a friend from the terrorists.

Following the visit Ms Williams said: "We were delighted to welcome the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to our hospital.

"It meant a great deal to our staff, who continue to offer safe and compassionate care to our patients.

"Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the events of last weekend."