Spotlight on our Volunteer Drivers

Our volunteer drivers are part of the care some of our patients receive at our Trust before and after their visit to hospital.

The team of drivers also deliver medicines and transport services to help our patients outside of hospital grounds.

Paul Martin, Volunteer Driver, said: “We mainly, although not exclusively, work with older people transporting them home or sometimes to care home settings. We occasionally bring in patients for appointments, often to the Virtual ward. We cover the whole of Norfolk and beyond.”

Based in the Aylsham Discharge Suite or out in the community, our volunteer drivers are all about getting patients home stress-free.

“I’d finished 20 years as a social worker and wanted to carry on doing some work with disadvantaged people, but more on my own terms. I’d spent many years working with children and families and thought it was time to look at the other end of the age spectrum.”

“You can always be surprised by what has happened in people’s lives, which is a timely reminder not to dismiss people as simply ill or ‘in the way.’ I’ve met a woman who was a fashion model in the 50s and 60s, another patient who worked with the photographer David Bailey and was part of the London folk scene, and someone who played professional football for Norwich City.”

“There is no one typical day, which is what makes it so interesting. People share aspects of their lives with you when you’re taking them home, which is fascinating; there’s medication to deliver and some work with the virtual ward who are helping people to get well at home, where possible. It’s all good and worthwhile stuff.”

Volunteers meet patients in the Aylsham Discharge Suite, Virtual Ward and Pharmacy, chat with them while they wait for medication, and reassure them that they will be home soon. They will then load up their belongings and ensure the patient is safely settled in the vehicle before driving them home. The team also assist many other departments and wards who require transport services.

“We get to know staff on all the wards, particularly Discharge and Virtual wards, through our daily work, and are kept in touch during the working day through our Co-ordinator, who is contacted by staff who need our help. It’s a very practical job, getting people home after they’ve been unwell which means you really feel you’ve achieved something at the end of the day, rather than just talked about it.” Said Paul.

David Eastaugh, Volunteer Driver Co-Ordinator, said: “It’s a fabulous service that manages to ease pressure points within the hospital and can ensure a successful discharge which may have failed without the volunteer drivers.”

“Our volunteers also like to lend a hand for more random requests, from delivering essential equipment to feeding a patient’s cat, they really love to help.”

“The volunteer drivers love the contribution they make to the hospital, the staff and of course the patients.”

Each vehicle is equipped with a fuel card, mobile phone, breakdown kit and cleaning kit and each journey is logged in and out so we can ensure the driver and patient feels safe and confident.