Prince William pays tribute to Norwich nurse
- Credit: JustGiving
The Duke of Cambridge has paid tribute to a "much loved" nurse who died after contracting Covid-19 as he urged NHS executives to speak out about mental health.
Prince William passed on his condolences after Estrella Catalan, 52, died earlier this month at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) where she had worked for 18 years.
The duke's words of sympathy came when he joined the weekly meeting of the East of England's NHS leadership, and he highlighted the importance of health bosses talking about mental wellbeing to encourage their workforce to "feel emboldened and inspired to also take it seriously".
He also said the nation faced a "very big waterfall of mental health issues" in the future and asked the executives about their own wellbeing.
Speaking during the video meeting held on Wednesday, he said: "I also want to just sort of pass on my thoughts to all of you and your teams about Estrella Catalan, who I believe was a much loved member of most of your teams and had been in the region for a long time at I think King's Lynn and the N&N.
"And I imagine that's hit everyone very hard so I'm very sorry to hear that, and my thoughts from my family are all with all of you who knew her and her family."
In moving scenes, Mrs Catalan was interviewed from her hospital bed last month by the BBC and cried as she explained she only wanted to return to her patients: "I want to help. But I don't know when."
Ms Catalan, believed to be originally from the Philippines, joined the NNUH in September and worked as a staff nurse on the Gunthorpe and Heydon wards, and with the emergency department and acute stroke team.
According to a GoFundMe page created in her honour, which has raised more than £35,000 for her family, she is survived by her husband Melvin and their sons John and Josh. Her eldest son Vince died two years ago.
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Ann Radmore, regional director of NHS England who led the meeting of around 35 senior NHS leaders including Sam Higginson, chief executive of the NNUH, said: "He mentioned her death to us, and I think that was very appropriate and helpful actually, because she was a much loved member of staff over in Norfolk."