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Volunteers provide additional comfort and support in A&E

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Volunteers provide additional comfort and support in A&E

People attending accident and emergency at Wansbeck General Hospital are being given a little extra comfort and support by volunteers.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is piloting having volunteers to provide an additional friendly face in A&E as part of its Hospital Volunteer Service (HVS).

Every year around 60,000 people attend Wansbeck A&E with a variety of ailments and injuries and are either treated and safely discharged home, or admitted to a ward if they need hospital care.

Dr Mark Harrison, A&E consultant at Wansbeck General Hospital, said: “Having to attend A&E in an emergency can be extremely daunting, particularly for those who are elderly, or on their own.

“Having the volunteers there really makes a difference to these people. They’re someone to talk to while they wait for results, or to be transferred to a different part of the hospital which reduces the feeling of isolation and anxiety that they may feel in this situation.

“Simple gestures such as sitting with a patient, talking to them or making them a cup of tea go a long way and help to improve people’s experiences of being in the department, especially when our teams are busy.”

Northumbria Healthcare has one the best performance records in the region for treating patients within the nationally recommended four-hour timeframe. Latest figures show that 97% of people are seen within four hours against the national target of 95%.

This is just one of the many roles HVS volunteers carry out at Northumbria Healthcare hospitals including facilitating patient activities, providing support at mealtimes, meeting and greeting patients and visitors at hospital entrances, and working in one of the HVS shops.

If you’re interested in finding out about becoming a volunteer, visit  or contact 0191 203 1661.