Queen Elizabeth Hospital
My name is Andrew and I’m a retired civil servant. When I was looking for a new challenge in retirement, one of my daughters suggested becoming a volunteer at the local hospital. There had been some media publicity from the hospital calling for volunteers at that time, so this presented a great opportunity for me to do something constructive and rewarding in the community.
I joined the Voluntary Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), King’s Lynn in March 2017.I took on my first role as a volunteer driver for the pathology lab, taking blood samples to Addenbrookes and NNUH for analysis. This role extended to taking doctors to and from their clinics at North Cambridge Hospital (Wisbech). I found this role very rewarding, meeting new people and being able to demonstrate the versatility of the Voluntary Service.
In January 2018 a new role of volunteer Pharmacy Runner was introduced in the QEH. I took the opportunity to add this new initiative to my skills, and, but for the Covid pandemic, when all volunteers were stood down, I continue today to deliver prescribed medicines to the wards of the QEH. Waiting for prescribed medicines can be one od the main reasons behind the delays in patients being discharged.
As one of small team of volunteer Pharmacy Runners we save our frontline colleagues the job of waiting to pick up prescribed medications from the pharmacy. This enables the nursing staff to concentre on their patent-facing roles.
On a 6 hour shift I can easily cover more than 12,000 steps across the hospital, keeping me fit, active and on the go. Volunteering keeps me young.
In my civil servant career I upheld values of integrity, respect and responsibility. Now as an NHS volunteer these values are as important as ever to me. I believe that volunteers are the eyes and ears of the QEH. For example, I like to help anyone visiting the QEH in any way I can and make their experience as pleasant and stress free as possible. Sometimes this is simply by being a friendly face giving directions or assisting someone less able-bodied by providing a wheelchair and ensuring they get safely to their appointment.
I believe volunteering at the QEH is a brilliant way to meet new people, utilise existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering also helps develop life skills such as gaining confidence and self-esteem. Volunteering is fun, it is personally rewarding and it is making a difference.