Hospital staff celebrate the work of volunteers

By Ben Fitzgerald - 3 June 2019


During this year’s National Volunteers Week (1- 7 June), the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will commemorate their volunteers with recognition of the difference that they make within the organisation and for the time and the dedication they give in service to the patients and staff in the Trust.

The Voluntary Services Team will promote volunteering at the Trust with an information stand in the Atrium throughout Volunteers Week and will offer further information to anyone who may be considering applying to become a volunteer.

Great Western Hospital is supported by over 400 volunteers who give a total of around 3,500 hours of their time a month. Volunteers support 70 different departments within the acute hospital and in local community services.

A volunteer’s role may include anything from filing to feeding patients, with 61% of volunteer placement areas being patient facing roles.

Mary Wilson is 73 and has volunteered at the hospital for 15 years.

“I was an inpatient on the cardiac ward at Princess Margaret Hospital,” said Mary. 

“I started to volunteer on Jupiter Ward fairly soon after the hospital became the Great Western Hospital. I asked to be transferred to Acute Cardiac Unit where I have been for the past few years.

“I do the tea and coffee round when I first get there and this gives me a chance to meet all the patients on the ward, and suss out if there is anybody I think just might want a bit of company for a while.
“I get an enormous amount of pleasure from feeling that I can still be useful.”

Andrea Plumb is a senior sister of Mercury ward. “Our volunteers are invaluable to us. I truly don't think we could do it without them,” she said.

“They chat to patients, which I absolutely love- so many of the older population do not speak to anyone for days on end at home. In hospital, chats with our friendly volunteers, and interest in their welfare, cannot be valued enough.

“The volunteers are also a morale booster to the nursing staff. They are always there with cheerful banter and a ready smile. I know that we could not run our service without our volunteers.” 

A number of Great Western Hospitals NHS FT volunteers will be celebrated on Friday 7 June 2019 at the Volunteer Long Service Awards. The awards ceremony is an annual event and is an opportunity to thank all of the Trust’s volunteers, as well as to acknowledge volunteers who have given long service- with recognition for every 5 years spent as a volunteer.  

This year, the 32 volunteers who will be presented with Volunteer Long Service Awards have collectively given an impressive total of 275 years to volunteering.

If you or anyone you know are interested in becoming a volunteer, please apply through the NHS Jobs Website.

The voluntary commitment that is asked of all volunteers is a minimum of three hours a week for at least six months. If you would like more information on volunteering, please speak to the Voluntary Services team on 01793 605247.

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