West Suffolk Hospital volunteers praised in report that shows how they are making a difference
Volunteers inside West Suffolk Hospital are making a significant difference to recovery of patients, research has found.
The NHS trust behind the Bury St Edmunds infirmary was one of five to recruit the workers for placements following an appeal by Helpforce.
The charity, which facilitates placements for thousands inside hospitals, found that after one year of their appeal a significant difference was felt.
Ian McKee, voluntary services manager, said volunteer work helped the West Suffolk’s trust secure an ‘outstanding’ Care and Quality Commission rating.
“We are so lucky as a trust to have such wonderful volunteers,” he told the Bury Free Press.
“We’ve found both patients and staff benefit from a strong volunteer presence.”
The trust has more than 400 volunteers who completed a combined 47,774 hours last year.
They fulfil roles such as general help on the wards, providing an extra pair of hands at mealtimes, making beds and helping make patients feel comfortable.
Helpforce said their research found volunteers helped lessen patients’ feelings of anxiety, prevent falls and improve attendance rates for appointments by chasing up patients.
As part of the push, volunteers were also encouraged into Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, University Hospital Southampton, Northumbria Healthcare trust and Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospital.
"The volunteers themselves also cite improved self-esteem, wellbeing and social connections from contributing in their spare time," Ian McKee
Volunteers are playing an increasing role inside the NHS and the service is looking to grow this workforce from 78,000 to 156,000.
Mr McKee continued: “We’ve found both patients and staff benefit from a strong volunteer presence.
“Staff have a bit more time to do their clinical work, and patients appreciate having them available to chat to. The volunteers themselves also cite improved self-esteem, wellbeing and social connections from contributing in their spare time, as well as improved fitness from walking around the hospital.
“I am extremely proud to lead this team, the amazing people who give their valuable time to us, and of course I would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to join them in supporting their local health services.”