KGH's unsung heroes who are volunteering to help in the pandemic

They're doing a brilliant job

Some of the KGH Volunteers who have been serving the hospital during the
coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the KGH Volunteers who have been serving the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.

There's a huge team at Kettering General Hospital working all hours to save lives and keep us safe in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those on the frontline deservedly get huge credit. But behind them there's 86 unsung heroes - and they're doing it for free.

The volunteers have been thanked for their dedicated work to support doctors, nurses and medical staff during the height of the second wave.

Volunteers working in KGH vaccination centre Claire Jennings, Judy Mitchell and John Wright.

They've been working in a variety of ways to support staff at the Rothwell Road hospital, including with the Covid vaccination programme.

KGH’s volunteer manager, Christine Hardy, said: “Our volunteers are doing an amazing job in supporting our frontline staff a time when they are under the most extreme pressure. One great example of the way they have adapted to support staff is their involvement in the hospital’s Covid vaccination programme.

“Our volunteers were very keen to get involved in this and we now have a rota which enables ten volunteers to work each day supporting the vaccination centre seven days a week. They are doing things like directing and greeting people on arrival, doing temperature checks for Covid, helping with paperwork and data entry and helping set follow-up appointments.

“They are part of a larger team in the vaccination centre made up of ambulance service volunteers, KGH staff volunteers and some members of our team who have been released to work in the centre.”

Volunteer Giulia Ignatescu.

Other ways in which volunteers are supporting KGH staff include the staff meals service, taking meals to frontline staff to take home and eat in the evenings. They have also helped the care courier service, a patient belongings delivery service which ensures people can have their own clothes and other personal items delivered to them while in hospital.

Volunteers have also been delivering medications to shielding patients at home and delivering medications directly to wards. Up to half of all medications are now delivered to teams by volunteers to free up frontline staff.

And they've also been supporting the We Care Cafe, a socially-distanced area where staff can unwind and have a free drink.

Judy Mitchell, from Kettering, is currently volunteering in both A&E and the vaccination centre.

She said: “The vaccine hub is an utter joy, with everyone working so hard but enjoying being part of it. Recipients are all really grateful and the whole operation is very slick.

“Without exception it is the happiest working environment I've ever encountered, and thanks to the volunteering manager and her team for making this happen. We get a lot of positive feedback from those being vaccinated and I wouldn't miss it for anything.”

Aspiring medic Giulia Ignatescu, from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, has been working as a volunteer by distributing medicines during the lockdown.

The Year 13 pupil, who previously volunteered at Lakelands Hospice and is applying to study medicine at university, collects medicines and distributes them to the relevant wards. She said that the voluntary work means that she is making a difference and helps her give structure to her life during the pandemic.

She said: "I volunteered to join the hospital and went through a lengthy vetting process before being accepted onto their volunteer team in December.

"My role is to deliver all the medicines and patients’ charts to the wards. I have to do quite a lot of walking and have found lots of different shortcuts around the hospital.

"I volunteer for between four and eight hours a week and I have really enjoyed it. I have also helped with the paperwork and monitoring for the Covid vaccination of the staff.

"There is a minimum commitment period for volunteering and I am intending to keep doing it for as long as I can."

Kettering General Hospital’s acting director of human resources and organisational development, Paula Kirkpatrick, said their cheerful volunteers are great ambassadors for the hospital and are playing an 'incredibly important' role.

She added: “Their support is also symbolic of the support of our local community which is good for staff morale.

“And I just want to repeat the message that all local people can support us by doing things which reduce the spread of the virus by staying at home, thinking hands, face, and space, and observing all of the lockdown rules.”