A team of volunteer hospital drivers have racked up more than 8,000 journeys taking patients home and dropping off medication.
The free service from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has been so valued by grateful patients that nearly £8,500 has been donated to the Trust’s charitable funds as a ‘thank you’.
Operating Monday-Friday from 11am – 7pm and on Saturdays from 10am – 1pm, the team of 23 drivers take patients home who have no lift and also deliver medication or equipment if needed.
When I put my volunteer badge on I feel proud to be part of this NHS team. I hope that my role as a volunteer can help do good for the patients we look after.”Tommy Young, volunteer driver
Patients waiting for medication has been identified as a major reason for delays in discharge.
This led to the volunteer drivers, who began their work in 2013 to support patients coming to outpatient appointments, also taking patients home and making deliveries.
As COVID-19 struck, the service was suspended but quickly resumed with the drivers offering a new service. They picked patients up from home and brought them into hospital for essential treatment such as chemotherapy, haematology and cardiology appointments.
The drivers are fully tested for the virus and wear personal protective equipment.
The help from our drivers has supported vulnerable patients who have been shielding and reduced unnecessary visits to the hospital. It’s just a pleasure to work with such committed, unselfish people. They even use their own cars to perform this important task. We owe them so muchPaul Wharton, volunteer coordinator
Drivers are also supporting with the Trust’s food donation campaign by delivering generous donations from Trust staff and volunteers to local food banks.
Donations from grateful patients now stands at £8,462.62.Click here for volunteer opportunities