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A Volunteer’s story, at the Royal Preston Hospital - Volunteers' Week Day 3

Volunters Week Day 3 - logo and colours

My name is Chris and I have been volunteering at Royal Preston Hospital now for over a decade and still find it fulfilling.

I retired from an engineering role at BAe Systems in 2011. After about 6 months getting under my wife’s feet, she reminded me that I’d told everyone I was going to start volunteering when I retired. “Well, get out there and get something organised”, I was told.

Within a fortnight I’d organised myself a couple of interviews, one with someone at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust and the other at Samlesbury Hall. Both organisations accepted me. At my Hospital interview, two roles were offered to me, one day support in the Ophthalmic (Eyes) Clinics / Ward and the other on the Information Desk one evening a week.

One role involved me helping patients remain calm, and at the same time organise the patients’ records (paper records in those days), and in the other role to direct visitors to wards etc. Because I was finding volunteering in RPH rewarding, I offered the hospital a second day when I could volunteer and was given the opportunity to support a Cancer Diagnosis Clinic in ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) Department that took place one morning a week.

If any biopsy samples were taken during the examinations, I’d to rush them over to Pathology so they could be analysed quickly ahead of the patients’ return visits in the afternoon. I was also often asked by the clinic to escort patients over to the Maternity Department for an Ultrasound Scan.

In my “spare” time I helped the ENT Secretaries. Following a couple of changes made to processes, it was decided that I was no longer required there, but in the meantime, with regard to the Information Desk role, I dropped my evening slots and picked up a morning slot instead.

This encouraged me to start on the process of rewriting the desk’s out of date Directory. Since then I have drawn up a number of maps and information sheets for the volunteers there - a job I continue to do to this day. Then COVID hit and all volunteer work stopped.

I was invited back in to support the COVID Vaccination of NHS Staff and Public Facing Staff a couple of times a week, in a meet and greet role. That lasted for couple of months, and after a break, I got invited in again, this time to support a Hospital Staff Health and Wellbeing activity.

This gave staff the chance to have a general Health Check and chat about any health concerns they had with a clinician. Again, basically a couple of hours a day, twice a week in a meet and greet role. Again this role only lasted for two or three months.

The next important event was the opening of the new Information Desk. I returned there covering Friday mornings. A little later I offered to stay on after lunch on Fridays in order to help establish the new role of Discharge Lounge Volunteer. There I brewed up, handed out sandwiches and kept an eye open for anyone that might be getting distressed. I also picked up prescriptions from the Internal Pharmacy.

As I find the Information Desk role more satisfying than the role in the Discharge Lounge, I have recently dropped the Discharge Lounge activity and now spend the whole of Friday, 9am to 4pm, at the Information Desk.

Why do I done all this voluntary work you might ask? I do it because I appreciate that coming into a hospital for whatever reason can be very stressful, and I feel I can help reduce some of that stress. I’m also very grateful for what the NHS has done for me in the past and want to return the favour. I have also been lucky enough to be able to take on a variety of different roles at RPH. Variety has definitely been the spice of my hospital volunteering life!

Other Volunteers support facilities such as the Rosemere Café, Cardio-Respiratory Clinic, the Internal Pharmacy and the Wards. As an aside I also volunteer on a weekly basis for two other organisations, LCC’s Countryside Service and Lancs Wildlife Trust.

Get in touch

Chorley and South Ribble Hospital

Preston Road



01257 261222

Royal Preston Hospital

Sharoe Green Lane




01772 716565

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