LOCAL NEWS: Rapid response volunteers support local NHS staff

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An army of ‘rapid response volunteers’ has been deployed across the Royal Bournemouth Hospital to support staff, helping to increase patient flow and protecting clinical time.

12 rapid response volunteers are supporting clinical teams in the Emergency Department, Acute Medical Unit, and on Ward 26 as part of an NHS England initiative

The team help with daily tasks usually carried out by hospital staff: collecting medicines, supporting patients at mealtimes, helping them get ready to leave the hospital and making beds. In general, they are on hand to free up the times of the nurses, healthcare support workers and even porters.

Volunteer Tony Robinson’s first four-hour shift saw him save one hour and 40 minutes of ambulance time by moving patients around the hospital and enabling them to get back on the road. 

Tony said: “My daughter and wife work for the NHS so I feel like I live the NHS already. It’s so rewarding to be able to help out in this way and it’s a really meaty role for me to get stuck into.

“From a volunteer’s point of view, it’s so interesting to see the challenges the staff face and to be able to help.”

Volunteers have received in depth training in a number of areas, including food hygiene, manual handling and security. Between them, they work from 10am-6pm during the week and are aided by healthcare support worker, Kallie Gregory.

She said: “We’re more aware of what’s going on and what tasks are most helpful on the wards. I think it’s going to be brilliant. The relief on people’s faces when they see us, it makes it all worthwhile.”  

The rapid response role also has a big focus on staff welfare.

Laura Northeast, Head of Patient Experience, said: “The areas they’re working in are so busy, our staff can struggle to take their breaks. If our volunteers can collect food for them, it means they can actually rest during their breaks and not spend their time queuing for food.”

The role, funded by NHS England, will initially run until 31 March.

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