Princess Eugenie meets patients & country’s top spinal experts at QMC

Princess Eugenie of York visited Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham this afternoon to speak to some of the country’s leading spinal experts and meet patients who have undergone the same operation as she had at the age of 12.

During her visit, Princess Eugenie met Mike Grevitt and Khalid Salem, Consultant Spinal Surgeons and Ann Marriott, Spinal Nurse Specialist and talked to spinal patients and their families on Ward D34 in Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital. Princess Eugenie was diagnosed with Scoliosis – severe curvature of the spine – in 2012 and had surgery soon after. When she got married in 2018, she chose a wedding dress that showed her scar from childhood spinal surgery and she paid tribute to NHS staff have cared for her over the years.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), which includes QMC, is a centre of excellence for Spinal Surgery in the UK, and is one of 12 spinal centres in the country which specialises in children’s deformity surgery. Every year, NUH receives 1,000 deformity referrals across the country for children and young people, with 20% of these patients going on to have surgery.

During her visit, Princess Eugenie met Mike Grevitt, who is recognised by his peers as one of the country’s leading spinal surgeons. Mike, who has been a Consultant Surgeon at NUH for over 20 years, featured prominently in the BBC Two ‘Hospital’ documentary which was filmed in Nottingham in 2018.

He said: “Today’s visit gave us the opportunity to highlight the world-class work carried out by the spinal team in the treatment of patients with spinal injuries and deformities. As one of the Europe’s leading spinal centres, our exemplary practices set the standards in improving treatment across the UK and beyond.”

One of the patients Princess Eugenie met was Jayson Walker, one of Mike’s patients, who also featured in the ‘Hospital’ documentary and who had an operation to correct his scoliosis last year on the programme.

Jayson was wearing a mini surgeon costume which was sent to him by his surgeon, Mr Grevitt for his birthday. Jayson has been practising checking his brother’s temperature at home.

Kerry Walker, Jayson’s mum, said: “He loves his outfit and doesn’t want to take it off. It has been lovely meeting Princess Eugenie today; it is great to hear her story and is very inspirational for the children on the ward to meet her as she has had similar experiences as a child. You just don’t think it happens to other people other than your own flesh and blood. She is such a normal, down to earth person and it was good of her to visit Nottingham today.”

Jayson will be returning to hospital in July for a follow-up appointment with Mr Grevitt. It has been almost 13 months since he had corrective spinal surgery at QMC. 

Helen Donovan, Ward Manager on D34, said: “Today’s visit provided such a boost to patients, their families and our staff. We work together as a team determined to provide the best possible care to children and young people and their families. We are always exploring innovative solutions and new ways of working to further improve care, and for D34 this includes looking at a new spinal pathway with our surgeons, anaesthetists and intensivists that would see patients going straight to the ward instead of to Paediatric Critical Care Unit after their surgery. This will help reduce cancellations and increase ward staff knowledge and care whilst still maintaining safety. A pilot of this new way of working is currently underway.”