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Health issues the Queen has faced in recent years | UK News

The thoughts of the nation and the Commonwealth have turned to the Queen after Buckingham Palace announced her doctors are “concerned for her health”.

In light of the statement, released on Thursday afternoon, all the Queen’s children, along with Prince William and Prince Harry, are travelling to be with her at Balmoral.

Queen placed under medical supervision – follow live updates

Here Sky News looks back at Her Majesty’s health in recent years.

A knee operation and cataracts surgery

The Queen went to hospital for a knee operation in 2003 and used a stick in public for around two weeks afterwards.

She had another hospital stay in 2013 after suffering a nasty bout of gastroenteritis.

In 2016, she used a lift, rather than the 26-step royal staircase, to enter parliament for its state opening.

Two years later in 2018 she had successful surgery to treat cataracts in one of her eyes.

On 12 October 2021, at the age of 95, she was pictured using a walking stick at Westminster Abbey – the first time she appeared to need one for mobility issues.

Queen Elizabeth II uses a walking stick as she arrives to attend a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the Centenary of the Royal British Legion. Picture date: Tuesday October 12, 2021.
Queen uses a walking stick at Westminster Abbey on 12 October 2021

She was given doctors’ orders to rest that month and cancelled a series of engagements as a result.

On 20 October last year, she spent a night at the private King Edward VII Hospital in central London – her first overnight hospital stay in eight years.

Buckingham Palace said she was admitted for “preliminary investigations” – but returned to Windsor Castle a day later and “remained in good spirits”.

The following month, she was unable to attend the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday after spraining her back.

Prince Charles lays a wreath at the Cenotaph for the absent Queen on 14 November 2021
Prince Charles lays a wreath at the Cenotaph for the absent Queen on 14 November 2021

After she remarked to a member of the public that she “couldn’t move”, Buckingham Palace declined to comment but it was understood she had been feeling slightly stiff – rather than being injured or unwell.

On 21 February this year, it was reported the Queen had tested positive for coronavirus.

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 2200HRS BST, SUNDAY 10TH APRIL 2022 Handout photo issued by Buckingham Palace of Queen Elizabeth II speaking to Polly Fitch, Clinical Psychologist; Imam Faruq Siddiqi, Chaplain; Mireia Lopez Rey Ferrer, Senior Sister; and Jackie Sullivan during a video link call and virtual visit to the Royal London Hospital on Wednesday to mark the official opening of the hospital's Queen Elizabeth Unit. Issue date: Sunday April 10, 2022.
Doctors and nurses speak to the Queen virtually on 10 April 2022

Buckingham Palace said she suffered “mild cold-like symptoms” but recovered as she was understood to have received three vaccine doses.

She later remarked in a phone call with doctors, nurses and bereaved COVID families that the virus left her “very tired and exhausted”.

Britain's Prince Charles and Britain's Queen Elizabeth attend the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, June 30, 2022. Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS
The Queen and Prince Charles during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June

Recent mobility problems

In May, the Queen’s “episodic mobility problems” meant she had to miss the state opening of parliament for the first time in 59 years.

She was also absent from much of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth II with Jonathan Jones, Chair of Trustees, during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice, Maidenhead, Berkshire. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022.
Her Majesty uses a stick at a hospice opening in Berkshire in July this year

This week, for the first time during her reign, she had to appoint the UK’s new prime minister at Balmoral, not Buckingham Palace.

She had been there for her summer break and was advised not to travel, receiving Liz Truss in Scotland instead.

A day later she cancelled a virtual meeting of the Privy Council after a “full day on Tuesday”.

Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving Liz Truss for an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, where she invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative party to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Picture date: Tuesday September 6, 2022.
The Queen inside the Balmoral drawing room on Tuesday

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace released this statement: “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.

“The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”

Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills noted that members of the Royal Family “do not cancel engagements lightly” after it was announced that all four of the Queen’s children, along with Prince William and Prince Harry, were travelling to be with her at Balmoral.

‘There’s a barrier to receiving help’: Campaigners call for more support for student mental health services | UK News

Campaigners have said there is still a long way to go to support young people and prevent suicides after the government announced further funding for student mental health services.

The Student Minds mental healthy charity has received a three-year funding commitment of £262,500 annually from the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, to extend the provision of Student Space.

The platform offers students one-to-one mental health support as well as services via web, call and text.

The funding comes after the government allocated £3m to help the NHS work more closely with universities when providing students with mental health support.

However, campaigners have said there is a long way to go when it comes to providing students with the best possible mental health provisions.

Mental health activist Ben West told Sky News: “So many students I talk to don’t know what’s available, and even if they know what’s available they’re so mysteriously presented that, that there’s so much anxiety about going.

“That is such a barrier to receiving that help.”

He added that discrepancies between universities are also rife.

Mr West said: “It varies massively from university to university.

“Some universities I’ve seen and heard about are great, they’re very proactive in terms of the support they offer, and some universities are incredibly unproductive.

“We need so much more regulation and guidance from government.”

In 2018, Natasha Abrahart took her own life while in her second year at the University of Bristol.

Struggling with social anxiety, her well-being deteriorated as she faced increasing pressure around oral university assessments.

Her department was made aware of her situation.

Robert Abrahart, her father, told Sky News about how Natasha’s flatmate had written to staff about the fact the student had been having suicidal thoughts “and to some degree attempted it”.

He said: “At that point, you’d think people would pick up on it and do something.

“In fact, yes, they helped her to get to the GP service, but did nothing else in the department.”

Natasha Abrahart
Natasha Abrahart took her own life in her second year of university

Her mother Margaret Abrahart added: “I think they were quite frightened to talk to her in case it was upsetting.

“But then at the same time, they seem OK with putting her into a situation that would be really upsetting.”

Her parents later learned of more attempts their daughter had made to get help.

Mr Abrahart said: “There’s records of her searching the internet for ways of solving her own problems.”

Her mother added: “It’s very tragic to see the attempts she made to sort out her own problems.

“It was just one of those problems that was just too difficult, and she needed help”.

Natasha Abrahart with parents Robert and Margaret
Natasha Abrahart with parents Robert and Margaret

Ultimately, a landmark court ruling found the university’s failures contributed to Natasha’s death.

At the time, the University of Bristol said staff worked hard and diligently to support her and it is committed to providing the best possible support for students.

The university has also applied to appeal the court’s decision.

The case sparked conversations around student mental health, and her parents continue to campaign so other students don’t experience the distress Natasha did.

There are also concerns about the training around mental health provided to student-facing staff.

Read more:
COVID and social media pressures driving surge in mental health problems, say doctors
One in six young people in England has a diagnosable mental health condition

Third of young men trying to conform to social media’s ‘picture perfect culture’, survey says

Sky News obtained data from 109 universities through Freedom of Information requests.

It showed that 98% offer student-facing staff mental health training.

However, it isn’t mandatory in 67 out of 107 institutions – that’s 63%.

And while 37%, 40 out of 107, have some form of mandate – in most cases, this doesn’t cover all staff.

Clinical psychologist Peter Kinderman told Sky News understanding of mental health must be widespread.

He said: “It should be part of the duty of care that all university staff – and that includes cleaning staff as well as lecturing staff – should have towards their students.

“It should be inherent in what universities do.

“If universities are ducking their responsibilities to understand and then support student mental health, then I think they’re at fault.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK