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Helpers wanted for wheelchair patients
VOLUNTEERS are urgently needed to help transport patients to and from clinics at the Great Western Hospital .
The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service at the GWH is in desperate need of wheelchair escorts following the departure of several volunteers.
Volunteers for the escort service are on hand to greet people as they are brought to hospital by ambulance and hand out refreshments.
Service manager, Des Jones, who has volunteered at the hospital for the past five years, currently has a team of 29 on his books but is hoping this will grow so he can improve the service on offer to patients.
“I’ve got a few volunteers leaving because of other commitments,” he said.
“I have advertised everywhere I can think of, from pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries, but it is quite slow at the moment.
“Anybody that can push a wheelchair can help out – I tend to leave the hours up to the volunteers to decide themselves and it has always worked that way.
“Any amount of time they can give us a week is a help.
“We always like to have at least two volunteers on at any one time, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that because you have to remember they are volunteers and sometimes they have other commitments.
“I have given out quite a few application forms recently but they haven’t been returned, which is a bit disappointing.”
Sixteen years ago the WRVS began to accept male volunteers and now the group at GWH has a fairly even split and now there are men and women of all ages helping out.
Currently Des is looking to recruit about five more volunteers.
All volunteers will be trained and parking will be provided free of charge for them in the main car park.
“The wheelchair escorts take patients to out-patient clinics so they are vital,” said Des.
“I have been a volunteer for some years now, and I really enjoy it.
“We are a good team, very friendly and very good at the work we do.
“We are the only wheelchair escorts in the country and we are very proud of our work.”
Anyone who would be willing to give up a few hours of their time a week can contact Des on 0777 320 5096.