Welsh Government
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Plan to increase volunteers to improve patient care

An initiative to encourage more volunteers in healthcare and to foster closer links between local communities and hospitals was officially launched by the Health Minister Edwina Hart this week.

The NHS Wales Volunteering Network aims to bring together people interested in volunteering in hospitals and in the local community with staff to identify opportunities.

The Network also provides people interested in a career in healthcare with a taster for working in a hospital environment.

It is a partnership between the Welsh Assembly Government, NHS and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Edwina Hart said:

Volunteers have always played an extremely valuable role in supporting healthcare professionals. People who give up their time to talk to patients during visiting times, help with fundraising, support the provision of ‘home from hospital’ schemes or volunteer at the hospital radio station all find it extremely satisfying and rewarding. This has benefits for both patients and volunteers.

It is important that there is a close relationship between the local hospital and the people it serves and this initiative aims to strengthen that bond.

This is especially important as we reflect and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS which was born in Wales.

This Network will help promote good practice across Wales, and help link volunteers with a range of opportunities.

I also see this as another way of giving people who wish to develop a career in the NHS the chance to work in a hospital environment before considering embarking on training.

If people are interested in volunteering, they should either contact the volunteer bureau at their local county voluntary council or their local hospital.

Wynne Roberts, Vice Chair of the Network, from North West Wales NHS Trust said:

The formation of this Network is the establishment of a major tool that will ensure that volunteering and the third sector will be at the heart of the development of the NHS in the future. If the NHS beyond its 60th Anniversary is to be truly person, patient and community centred, then the third sector is a major component in making that a vision a reality.

Win Griffiths, chair of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust, said:

The launch of the All Wales NHS Volunteering Network is another significant landmark in celebrating the contribution made by volunteers to the NHS in Wales. Volunteers make a difference in almost every walk of life and the health service is no exception. The Network will ensure a uniform approach to volunteering across Wales with the sharing of best practice that draws on national standards defined by the Investing in Volunteers programme. I am delighted that WCVA has been able to play its part in the launch and will continue to help strengthen the Network in the coming year.

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