Hospital volunteers heralded for essential service

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Volunteers who help patients in Milton Keynes Hospital who have eating difficulties have been celebrated as part of National Volunteers Week.

Mealtime volunteers are part of a 400-strong workforce, and the hospital is recognising their contribution as part of the week long celebration.

Sue Smith, who has been a mealtime volunteer for around five years, signed up shortly after her husband was admitted to the hospital.

She said: “When I was looking after my husband, I saw the great work done by the nurses, and I wanted to help.“I’ve been retired for a little while now, so volunteering helps me to meet new people and make a difference. If I can make someone smile, that’s all that matters.”

The hospital’s mealtime volunteers receive training by the hospital’s dietitians to be able to safely and confidently feed patients. The volunteers’ work helps patients who have difficulty feeding themselves – and makes sure those patients get the nutrition they need for a speedy recovery.

She said: “It’s a challenge I relish - and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m an extra pair of hands for the ward. When I’m helping out, it means the nurses can get on with organising discharges or prescriptions. It also means they don’t have to carry the soup!”

Annette Hall, Ward 20 Senior Sister said “We couldn’t do the job without Sue and our other dedicated volunteers - we would be lost without them.”