Hospital trust's '˜outstanding' service attracts volunteers

More than 150 new volunteers have joined Western Sussex Hospitals since the trust was awarded an '˜outstanding' rating earlier this year.
Volunteer celebrations. Picture: Western Sussex HospitalsVolunteer celebrations. Picture: Western Sussex Hospitals
Volunteer celebrations. Picture: Western Sussex Hospitals

The trust’s volunteer service is growing and currently has more than 1,000 members giving up their time to help patients and staff at St Richards’s, Worthing and Southlands hospitals in West Sussex.

Trust chairman, Mike Viggers, said: “Our volunteer workforce is part of the whole Western Sussex team and we are immensely proud of the invaluable support they provide and indebted to them for the exceptional kindness and experience they bring to our hospitals every day.

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“The Care Quality Commission rightly highlighted our volunteer workforce as one of the ‘outstanding’ staff groups of particular note, a select group that also included our neonatal and children’s team, end-of- life team and cleaning personnel.

“The CQC’s praise was well-deserved and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every member of our growing volunteer community.”

The Care Quality Commission rating from April 2016 commended the support volunteers receive and how they are accepted as part of the hospital team.

Retired dental nurse, Pamela Childs, 67 from Worthing, joined the trust as a clinical volunteer when she moved to the area a few years ago.

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Speaking at one of the trust’s Volunteer Christmas Coffee Mornings, she said: “It’s a great way to meet new people and working one morning a week on a surgical ward is really nice. You chat to the patients, support the staff and feel that you’ve helped people.”

Student, Belinda Funke, 18 and from Worthing, agreed and hoped her experience of volunteering on a medical ward would help her become a better paediatric nurse in the future.

She said: “I’ve learned lots of new things and enjoy volunteering one morning a week. The ward team are very nice and helpful and I feel happy that I am doing something like this.”

Clinical experience, or an interest in a medical career, is not necessary to become a volunteer and many enjoy providing admin support, greeting visitors on receptions or helping people find their way around the hospitals. The trust’s volunteer workforce also includes 70 chaplaincy volunteers, who provide support to patients at their bedside, as well as Knowing Me volunteers who talk with patients with dementia.

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David Clayton-Evans, trust lead for volunteer services, said: “Our volunteers are wonderful and hugely valued by our staff for the invaluable contribution to patient experience they provide. We are delighted more and more people are joining us and, with such a breadth of opportunities available to new volunteers, I would really encourage anyone interested to contact us, and find out more.

“We’d love to welcome you to Western Sussex Hospitals.”

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