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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Volunteer staff help out on wards
Ward at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
Patients at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd have praised the volunteers
Overworked nurses are being given a helping hand by volunteers in a Denbighshire hospital.

Around 25 unpaid workers are carrying out jobs for patients on the wards of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan.

The Robins, nicknamed because of the red shirts they wear, undertake non-medical duties leaving nurses free to carry out their clinical tasks.

Trust managers stress that they are not replacing nurses, but helping them lighten their load.

The pilot scheme has been so successful that Robins could be arriving in all of the county's nine hospitals.

I think they're wonderful and I can't complain at all, they're really super
Patient, Ellen Mouzar

Ward volunteer Jean Midgley said the scheme has only been running for three months but is very popular.

"I enjoy being here, I hope I'm very helpful to the staff and I love talking to the patients," she said.

"Staff will call us to take messages or help a patient to the toilet.

"With patients, it's just talking with them and mainly helping them to relax - we talk about home and family and their little dogs they've left at home.

"We're not replacing the nurses because they will chat with the patients when they need to.

But they're so busy, and we're just there if the others are not to hand."

Jean Midgley
Jean Midgley has volunteered for three months

Ellen Mouzar, who is currently being cared for on ward seven at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, said the Robins are invaluable.

"I think they're wonderful and I can't complain at all - they're really super," she said.

"If we want a cup of tea or anything, they'll help."

The idea to install volunteers originally came from the Royal Liverpool Hospital in Merseyside.

The hospital now has 500 volunteers on their books.

Kay Hemsley, corporate services manager at the hospital said the Robins could be made permanent after a Trust meeting next week.

"The Trust has always been looking at ways to enhance the patients experience when they're in hospital," she said.

"More and more we're aware that nurses are much busier on the wards looking at the clinical side of things.

"The response has been fantastically we're really, really pleased with it."

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