This time is it Dee and her husband William who are two of our volunteer car drivers in Cumbria.
Explain What you do?
We are both Volunteer car drivers for the Patient Transport Service. I work three days a week and William does 3 nights after work and on Saturday mornings. We pick up patients and take them to routine hospital appointments.
Before every shift, we are given a list of patients to collect and take to the hospital. I always make sure I call patients the day before their appointment to introduce myself and confirm the time I will pick them up – so they are not worrying about who or when they will be collected.
Some patients are nervous, anxious and of course not feeling on top form. We hopefully help cheer them a little and reassure them during the journey to or from the hospital.
How long have you been volunteering and why did you first get involved?
We have been volunteering with NWAS for several years. Originally I was looking for a part time role within the NHS, but also started helping with a local community transport scheme. When I saw the details about patient transport I felt this was a great service and wanted to get involved. I have been driving for 4 years. William got interested in what I was doing and decided to volunteer a year after me.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
We enjoy driving but also having a chat with our patient passengers. Sometimes we are the only person patients have seen for a while as they have been stuck at home. This was true, especially during the pandemic and lockdowns.
I can honestly say that both William and I enjoy our contact with patients and have heard amazing life stories from some of our patients. It is so rewarding to help when people are not feeling their best. Patients are always grateful for the job we do and often say they would be completely stuck if the PTS service didn’t exist.
Why would you encourage others to get involved?
To anyone interested in joining the NWAS patient transport scheme – just remember we all get ill and need hospital treatment at some point in our lives, it is stressful and worrying. But if you are also concerned as to how you will get to hospital – then that adds to the stress, especially as some patients require daily treatments over several weeks. So a volunteer can take away that concern. It is so rewarding and you meet some interesting people on that journey – so fantastic to sometimes hear peoples’ life stories and in a way distract them for a short while from the health concerns they may have.