Duchess of Cambridge makes 'virtual bedside visit' to new parents in NHS maternity unit

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

The Duchess of Cambridge has made a virtual bedside visit to new parents during a video call to midwives she worked alongside last year.

Kate chatted to Rebecca Attwood and John Gill with their baby Max nearby, and when she was told the infant had been born the night before, the royal said: "My goodness, you must be exhausted."

The duchess has been lending her support to a charity which is reminding mums to be that hospital maternity units are still open and are still safe places to have their babies.

Midwives told the duchess the coronavirus outbreak had left some mothers suffering from anxiety, concerned about catching Covid-19.

Devica Ireson, told the Duchess: "We're still here to provide the best care for your pregnancy and baby and for the family also."

Jennifer Tshibamba, an antenatal midwife who is part of a team offering ultrasound scans and blood tests for genetic conditions, said wearing masks was an added challenge when giving parents difficult news.

When asked her the midwives and their families are managing, Ms Tshibamba said: "We are following the guidance of wearing our masks especially, personally I feel more secure."

During the video call, the duchess asked about the concerns of mothers and was told by Jo Doumouchtsi, a perinatal mental health midwife, there had been an increase in referrals for anxiety.

The Duchess of Cambridge's call with health workers. Credit: Kensington Palace

The midwife said: “The main issues that women are having at the moment really are around coming into hospital and worries about catching Covid, but also about the isolation after the baby is born.

"They have to self-isolate, so they are having limited support from their other family members."

The duchess, who devotes a lot of her time to the early years and to the mental health of parents, raised concerns about new parents, saying they should “reach out and ask for help” if they need it.

Deputy Chief of Midwifery of England, Jessica Read, said: "What would normally be a family event or you would engage with friends or peers, it's not happening anymore so I think the mental health implications is huge."

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