The volunteers complementing the work of the NHS

Here's a selection of some of the ways volunteers are complementing the work of the NHS. 

Maternity Mates in East London  recruit, train and match-up volunteer Maternity Mates with pregnant women in need of extra support in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest, with plans to expand into other London boroughs, and then a nationwide service. 

As of October 2016, over 500 women had been supported by over 170 accredited volunteers.

Contact Jasmin Begum, Programme Manager - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 020 7377 9640

Human Sat Navs guide patients and visitors around hospitals so they don’t get lost and ensure they get to their appointments on time. Here's the story of retired lab technician Edward Parr who's been one of a group of 19 meet-and-greeters volunteering at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board's three main hospitals and 19 community hospitals.

Contact: Volunteers Manager at Wrexham Maelor, Susan Marriott - 01978 727164

The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes enables qualified volunteer motorcyclists help the NHS by delivering blood. Last year 56,134 runs were made by 2,700 volunteers for the NABB. It's not just blood they deliver. Bikers also deliver surgical tools, human milk, spinal fluid and even rabies serum conveyed via panniers on their powerful motorbikes. NHS hospitals may need blood deliveries at any time of day or night and volunteers can be on call up to 80 hours of one week each month.

Contact: Peter Robertson - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or local groups via http://www.bloodbikes.org.uk/contactagroup/

GoodSAM  is a mobile app and web platform that alerts trained volunteer responders to life threatening emergencies close by. It is integrated with the emergency services- so when a cardiac arrest is reported via 999, in addition to dispatching an ambulance, three nearby volunteer responders are also alerted to undertake high quality resuscitation faster- improving survival rates. As of July 2016, over 8,000 responders in the UK were signed up- with further expansion planned. It is also being used internationally.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +44 (0) 20 7438 2543

Street doctors  teach people how to call an ambulance and deliver immediate first aid to someone who is bleeding before professional help arrives. They aim to tackle the fact that violence is the third largest cause of death for young people in Europe.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07763 457712

King's College Hospital volunteers provide practical help to patients and visitors, complementing the work of paid staff across the Trust.  Volunteer posts include: Hospital to Home (H2H) Volunteers who help patients to settle in at home as part of the Hospital to Home scheme: Ward Visitors who help make patients’ hospital stay more comfortable by chatting, listening, reading, running errands or escorting them on short walks, as well as getting involved with activities for elderly patients such as games and singing: Hospital Guides and Outpatient Volunteers, who help make patients' visits to outpatient departments as smooth and comfortable as possible by chatting, listening and helping register arrivals.  Patient satisfaction has been shown to  be higher amongst those who had contact with a volunteer.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: 020 3299 5510

Health Champions Shropshire is an innovative county-wide programme in Shropshire which brings together youth services, hospital trusts, the council and charities to ensure local health services are suited to young people. Shropshire Young Health Champions involved training young people to lead voluntary action projects across hospitals, GP surgeries and schools as youth health champions.  eg, three girls with type 1 diabetes led an education programme in schools to improve the experience of students who live with diabetes.

ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 01743 730005

Royal Free Charity, Young Volunteer Programme offers a selection roles for younger people, whether they want to pursue a career in healthcare, or they want to give back to their local hospital. Young people provide support to patients to find locations for appointments as ‘satnav guides’ helping to improve patient experience. Young people in the local community benefit from meeting other young people and getting to know others in the community. This also enables young people interested in the health and care profession to get real experience in a healthcare environment. Innovative approaches often can support with a range of challenges and open up new opportunities too.

Contact Emma Defoe, Young Volunteer Programme Manager, Royal Free Charity This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.020 8216 4108 ext: 64108

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals Trust uses volunteers for

  • Wayfinding – helping direct people through the Trust’s sites, buildings and facilities; helping people check-in for their appointments and escorting them to their appointments, etc.
  • Helping patients take part in activities while they are being cared for by our services
  • Assisting patients at mealtimes, either in hospital or in the community
  • Helping new mothers with activities such as nursing and breastfeeding

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.0121 507 4855

Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals  have more than 600 volunteers already working closely with their staff, in 80 different roles contributing over 32,000 hours a year. Their volunteers, who are from a variety of different cultures, ethnicities and communities vary in age between 18 and 90 who complement the work of their 15,000 staff.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 020 7188 1658 or 020 7188 8399

Bleep Volunteers at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust  are volunteers who carry a bleep which staff can call to make a request for an ad hoc errand.  They worked initially with the pharmacy team to help to support the delivery of stock, medication and prescriptions to priority wards.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 020 3315 6864

Age Concern Luton runs a free 7 day hospital discharge project to support people leaving hospital and returning home, reducing readmission for social reasons. This involves sending someone to visit elderly people within a short time of discharge and providing support enabling them to readjust. The charity says it has had a really positive impact on reducing hospital readmission rates, particularly for older people living alone.

Case study: Widowed Bob, 83, had been admitted as an emergency. He was discharged from hospital late evening after a three week stay. Age Concern visited him within an hour of discharge, set up his bedroom, stocked the cupboards and provided the support he needed to mentally readjust to fending for himself again.

Contact: Colette McKeaveney - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 01582 456812

Home from Hospital is a volunteer-led service supporting older people to return home from hospital earlier, run by Royal Voluntary Service right across the UK. Too many older people are going home alone after a stay in hospital. This scheme prevents that, and can help to prevent some of the risks associated with it - loneliness, poor diet, falls and other accidents, which all too often lead to rapid readmission. The Royal Voluntary Service believe their scheme could save £40.4m per year in readmission costs, while the scheme also helps relieve bed-blocking in hospitals. The University of Oxford analysed the impact of Home from Hospital services in nine hospitals across Leicestershire. They found that the service not only reduced readmission rates (9.2% compared to a national figure of 15% for those aged 75 years and over), it also helped to significantly improve clients’ health and wellbeing.

Contact: Rebecca Kennelly, Director of Volunteering - 0330 555 0310

HELPFORCE - Working with NHS trusts to improve volunteering practice and make a positive difference for patients, volunteers and NHS staff. It is a new Community Interest Company founded last year and led by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett. 

Contact: Forster Communications - 020 7403 2230.

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