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Volunteers needed

05 October 2012

Volunteering

Volunteers are needed for a new 'meet, greet and guide' service set to be trialled at Southend Hospital's busy maternity unit.

The volunteers will be situated at a desk by the entrance to the unit to welcome patients and visitors to the busy unit and direct them to the appropriate clinic room or ward.

"The idea is for these volunteers to be a smiling face, the first point of contact," says Sharon Murrell, the hospital's acting head of midwifery.

"It's a busy department and it should be a varied and interesting role. We hope it will appeal to people thinking of entering the profession as well as people who have some spare time and would like to offer their services."

As well as catering for new mums and mums-to-be, the unit also runs a variety of clinics and has a bereavement suite, early pregnancy service and runs neonatal hearing screening.

Sharon and her team are looking for volunteers with tact, empathy and discretion in dealing with patients and their families who may be stressed, anxious or even grieving; although the majority of pregnancies and births are cause for celebration, there are occasions when not all goes smoothly.

 "Our volunteers need to be friendly, sensitive and have plenty of common sense," saysSharon.

The department would like to take on at least 10 or so volunteers to work on a rota, covering morning, afternoon and evening shifts on the desk.

Anyone interested in applying can contact Jane O'Connell or Chris Miller, voluntary services managers, on 01702 435555 ext 6135 for more information or email volunteers@southend.nhs.uk for an application form.

All volunteers will undergo a police check and informal interview prior to starting.