Inspired by my own voluntary service at Chelsea & Westminster

26th May 2018 | by Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett

We didn’t stop, even for one minute and I enjoyed every moment. I felt elated by the experience as we really made a difference in a meaningful way, and we were thanked everywhere we went by grateful and enthusiastic staff.

Our key role was to get prescribed drugs swiftly to the wards from pharmacy. I was shadowing an aeronautical engineering student from Imperial who wants to switch to medicine, and a Hungarian dietician waiting for her accreditation to come through. We three musketeers decided that lifts were for wimps. Boy did I regret that decision after three hours.

Our pharmacy is wonderful – staffed by the nicest and most professional team. They love the new bleep service and are convinced it gets people home earlier, freeing up urgently needed beds. Meanwhile our nurses can focus on the jobs they were trained to do while the three musketeers acquire new knowledge, fitness, and a feeling of real wellbeing. The wards welcomed us, as did ICU, and we were told that as a result of our speedy delivery a gentleman would get back to Chester before darkness fell. So gratifying and wonderful for him. One lady was so thrilled at getting her drugs so quickly that she signed up on the spot to become a bleep volunteer. We met her later leaving the hospital all excited about volunteering as she is at home with nothing to do. Finally and most significantly we were bleeped from Reception to support a very anxious patient. We spent time with this patient, talking and calming them. I am absolutely sure that the appointment would not have been kept if we had not gone with him and introduced him the clinician the patient was seeing.

I am so proud to be a volunteer, so proud of my fellow volunteers and staff, and so proud to be one of Helpforce five national pilot sites.

Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, Founder of Helpforce