Patients and staff from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) have felt the benefit of dedicated volunteers. Had the trust paid staff to do what volunteers do in their own time, it would have cost £519,000 in the 2016/17 financial year.
In 2014 UHMBT made a commitment to support and encourage voluntary activity, which not only enhances the care offered to patients but also supports staff across the Trust’s hospitals, improving the lives of those within the local community.
Currently, the Trust has 450 volunteers working in over 30 different areas across the Trust in roles such as: meet and greet reception information desk, patient support, gardening, hospital radio and chaplaincy. This is compared with 115 volunteers back in 2013.
The North West Blood Biker volunteers transport life-saving items for the Trust at evenings and weekends. Earlier this month the blood bikers were voted winners of the UHMBT 2017 winter Star of the Quarter. Steve Dunstan, North West volunteer blood biker said; “We all joined the volunteer blood bikes to give something back to the unique institution that is the NHS. Our reasons for joining may vary but not one of us joined for recognition or reward.”
Phyl Harrison, Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) volunteer said; “Over the past twenty three years, I’ve done all sorts of volunteer roles and met lovely people from all walks of life. I first started volunteering in the Furness courts tea bar, when that closed I moved here to support the RVS at Furness General Hospital and loved every minute of it.”
“I was delighted when a volunteer position came up for my husband, Roy, who has also been here with me volunteering at the RVS for the last twenty three years. I’ve found the whole team of staff and volunteers friendly, approachable, efficient and passionate about their work.”
Barry Rigg, Community Engagement Manager, UHMBT said: “Volunteers play an essential role in the way we provide care. They are hardworking and dedicated to supporting our staff, patients and visitors to get the best possible experience when in one of our hospitals. The most amazing part is that they give up their own time to carry out their roles which we cannot thank them enough for.”
“The Trust’s volunteering team also works with local organisations to offer roles to improve the lives of those in local communities. An example of this is at Furness General Hospital, where the Trust works alongside Imagine Independence – a service which provides employment opportunities for people with mental health needs and dual diagnosis – to create a number of volunteering opportunities for many service users. The benefits of volunteering include; learning new skills, gaining experience for future employment, meeting new people, increasing confidence, giving something back to the local community and a sense of feeling valued and making a difference within healthcare.”
UHMBT is fortunate to work with the Royal Voluntary Service who uses the Investing in Volunteers model. The model is designed to be an effective and rigorous process to ensure that all volunteers receive the best possible management support and therefore our organisation receives maximum benefit from our volunteers’ contribution.