Duke's insight into baby care

MARK NICHOLLS The Duke of Gloucester gained an enthusiastic insight into the art of safely bringing babies into the world as he officially opened the UEA School of Nursing and Midwifery.

MARK NICHOLLS

The Duke of Gloucester gained an enthusiastic insight into the art of safely bringing babies into the world as he officially opened the UEA School of Nursing and Midwifery.

The Duke met trainee midwives, lecturers and senior figures from the UEA and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and was also given a tour of the state-of-the-art centre, which has been named the Edith Cavell Building in honour of Norfolk's most famous nurse.

He watched students discuss the mechanisms of labour over a model that recreated the birth process and also borrowed an “ear trumpet” to listen to the “foetal heart”.

Midwifery lecturer Jayne Randall said: “The Duke was very interested and when we offered him the chance to have a go at listening to the heart, we were delighted that he took that up.”

The Duke of Gloucester was guided around the building, which has around 3,000 students, by head of nursing and midwifery Kate Guyon. Later, in performing the opening ceremony, the Duke, who has a keen interest in architecture, congratulated the designers of the building and the UEA and the N&N for its location.

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He said: “You have chosen a splendid site. It is going to be an iconic building and sits as a bridge between the hospital and the university.”

UEA vice chancellor Prof Bill Macmillan described it as a building “fit for purpose and architecturally striking.”

Students began using it in January having moved from five separate buildings on the Hellesdon Hospital site.

The multi-million-pound building is on the edge of the UEA campus and less than five minutes from the N&N where many of nurses, midwives and operating department practitioners do their clinical training. During his tour, the duke saw seminar rooms, a skills laboratory which replicates a hospital environment and one of the most modern 200-seat lecture theatres in the country.

He was also be briefed on the work of the school, including the research being undertaken and the innovative way that students are taught right across the health disciplines, with different professions working together as a team.

Earlier, the Duke gave Dereham library the royal seal of approval as he was shown round the £1.9m facility.

The library has become a jewel in Dereham's crown, becoming the second most popular library in Norfolk, after being open just 11 months.

As an architect himself, the duke took great interest in the design of the steel and timber structure, congratulating the architects on their use of natural light.

And staff said the library had been going from strength to strength, with members' numbers up 60pc in comparison to this time last year.

The Duke also met community leaders on his tour, including a representative from the Portuguese community.

Antonio Choca, the head of the Mid Norfolk Association, 80pc of whose members are Portuguese, said meeting the duke was a good opportunity to tell him about the work the organisation has done to help immigrants find work.

The duke also met members of Dereham day services, including Hazel Hudswell, who were learning how to spell using computers to test themselves.