Appeal for volunteers launched

An appeal for help has been launched after hundreds of volunteers have been asked to stay away from their local hospitals during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Out of an army of 400 volunteers across Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals only a handful of people are actively volunteering at the present time. They are helping to guide patients round the site at Scunthorpe.

Voluntary services manager Julie Dobbs

Julie Dobbs, voluntary services manager, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on our volunteering numbers as a large proportion of our volunteers are aged over 60 and the Government guidelines class anyone over this age as clinically vulnerable. So for their safety we have asked them to suspend coming to our hospitals.”

The current pandemic means they may not be able to return for many months. Julie said: “I am therefore appealing for younger people who may have some time on their hands to come in and help at their local hospital.”

She said the need for additional help was especially essential at the moment, as the Trust is seeing increasing numbers of staff having to self-isolate which is putting extra pressure on the remaining workforce.

Julie said: “We are already redeploying some corporate staff who provide back office functions onto our front line to support clinical staff by undertaking administrative duties. However, our ‘green’ wards – those that are coronavirus free – also need some additional support, which is where the volunteers will come in and help.”

Julie said the Trust really needed people to help out at Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals, and it could just be a few hours per week, to a day here and there – whatever would suit individuals. It could also be weekdays, or weekends to fit in with volunteers.

Anyone from the age of 17 and above can volunteer. They would have to undergo a DBS check and be cleared by occupational health, as well as pass the Trust’s staff covid risk assessment. Full training will be provided, and they will be supported by the voluntary services team.

Duties we will be asking of our volunteers:

• Giving directions to anxious patients when they come in to hospital
• Supporting patients with reduced mobility or sight to reach outpatient departments
• Advising people at entrances about the appropriate use of face masks and encouraging them to use the hand sanitisers
• Supporting wards with reception duties such as answering the phone, making calls and taking messages for clinical teams
• Simple administration tasks to support management of the ward
• Stocking up in clinical areas so our clinical staff have everything they require to care for patients
• Sitting with patients who require company and interaction
• Supporting the ward teams by relaying messages between patients and families and helping patients set up video calls to loved ones.

Julie said: “These simple tasks will help to make a significant difference especially as we move towards winter. It will also improve our patient and staff experience and help to keep families in touch with each other.”

Anyone interested in volunteering, or who would like further information, should contact Julie Dobbs by emailing: Julie.dobbs@nhs.net or ring 03033 305577.

If you are a journalist and require further information contact the communications and marketing team on nlg-tr.comms@nhs.net