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Volunteers give patients a lift

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Volunteer week is an opportunity to recognise the many volunteers working at MidCentral DHB.

The first volunteer on duty on the first day of volunteer week was Mary Lock, one of a band of hospital helpers, who make life easier for patients and staff.

Mary has driven the hospital car park shuttle for several sessions a week for the past 10 years. She ferries people between the main entrance of the hospital to their cars or wherever they need to go around the hospital grounds.  She spends her shift patrolling parking areas looking for customers and waiting for calls from the central enquiries desk.

She said: “Many people can’t walk very far, or they might get caught out with parking problems, so they are very grateful for the shuttle service. In bad weather our workload goes right up.”

Mary took on volunteering after a chance glimpse one day of someone she knew driving the shuttle. “I was out walking the dog and I saw her in the shuttle, and thought, I can do that.

“There are eight of us on the shuttle, but we can always do with more volunteers.”

Mary is also a ‘Friend of the Emergency Department’, a group of around 50 volunteers, who make beds, provide cups of tea, talk to patients and generally try to take these tasks away from staff so they can focus on clinical work.

“I have been on board for the last two years and I do every Saturday night as a regular commitment, but I also come in on a Sunday too if needed. Often there is just one of us on, and it could really do with two. It would be great if more people came forward to volunteer,” she said. “We get very busy in there and it is a stressful place for everyone. The small things we do really help people.”

As well as the hospital Mary has been a volunteer at the Esplanade railway for the past 10 years.

“I like helping people, and I’ve got the time,” she said.

If you would like to be a hospital volunteer you can contact Christine Wood at 06 350 8204 or
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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General information about Palmerston North Hospital.