Sandra Hayton, Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer Manager at the New QEII Hospital

Volunteers help guide patients

Going to hospital can be daunting, but a friendly face at the New QEII Hospital makes the experience much less worrying for patients and visitors alike.

Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) ‘ambassadors’ make the hospital experience as uncomplicated as possible by meeting and greeting people, helping them find their way and generally providing a friendly, reassuring presence.

Sandra Hayton has been volunteering with RVS for just over two years, initially working at the tea bar in the old hospital before moving to the New QEII Hospital when it opened in May. Now she is the Volunteer Manager, helping to recruit new ambassadors; showing them the ropes and doing her turn on the rota.

“Before I retired five years ago I worked in a job that involved interacting with people, and I missed it. So volunteering in a role like this seemed perfect,” said Sandra.

“People are often bewildered when they come into the new hospital for the first time. We direct them to departments, find a wheelchair if they need one, and, if they are on their own, escort them to their appointment. We’re here to help with any problems visitors and patients encounter.”

Sandra, who lives in Panshanger, often pops in to cover less popular shifts or to support new volunteers on their first shifts.

“As I don’t drive it’s easy to get here by bus, although since my husband retired he will often drive me,” said the bubbly lady who survived a horrific car accident two years ago. 

“Volunteering is a great way of spending a couple of happy, relaxed hours helping people and making new friends with your fellow volunteers,” she said.

Maria Hagger, RVS volunteer co-ordinator said: “Volunteering is good for the soul and a great way of giving something back. It provides social interaction, helps make new friends and keeps you active.”

For more information about volunteering contact Maria on 07736 825384 or email: maria.guilder@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or go to www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk to find out more.