Volunteers at the ‘Heart’ of CM Health

Our volunteers do a wonderful job, and it was great to see this acknowledged during National Volunteer Week (21-27 June).  To top off the week, our Manukau SuperClinic (MSC) volunteers were runner-ups at the 2015 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  Presenting the Award for ‘Health care provider service volunteer team’ was Associate Health Minister Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “This award shows what people can do when they work together,” said Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga. “You are indeed the face behind great customer service.”

While it was great for our MSC volunteers to be recognised, all of our volunteers at CM Health offer their time generously to help patients and visitors throughout our various sites.  Being the first face, our visitors see as they come through the doors, a warm welcome, and a smile from a volunteer does wonders for a person, who may be vulnerable, anxious or unsure where to go.

Our volunteers are a diverse group of individuals from varying backgrounds and ages (school and university students to retirees).  Navneet Singh, is a 2nd-year medical student, and says working as a volunteer has put him in good stead to be a future doctor.  He now has a better insight into how a large hospital operates.  Peter Henare, a future nursing student, knows what it’s like to be a patient, having been admitted to Middlemore hospital following a car accident.  “Being in hospital can be quite lonely,” says Peter.   “Just having someone there to help and to talk to can make hospital a less scary place.  That’s why I decided to become a volunteer at Middlemore Hospital.”

Each volunteer has his or her story to tell. However, all are connected by the desire to help others and make a positive difference in the care and support of our patients, whaanau and staff. Today I’m joined by Neshanee Naidoo, Manager, Volunteer Service at Middlemore to tell us about the Rainbow Volunteer programme, unique to Middlemore Hospital.

Our wonderful volunteers
Middlemore Hospital Volunteers

In December last year Middlemore Hospital put out a call to action for the community to join their volunteer army.  We had an amazing response with over 500 people putting in an application or wanting more information.  We now have 47 volunteers on board and will continue to grow our numbers.  I am incredibly proud of our diverse team and in return for our volunteers’ commitment and enthusiasm, we provide training and development.  For our younger volunteers or volunteers looking for paid employment volunteering provides them with skills and work experience that they can apply to a paid role.

NirmalaThe Rainbow Volunteer programme is a new initiative which was established at the beginning of 2015 to improve the patient experience at Middlemore hospital.  Some of our new initiatives include the creation of the Rainbow Volunteers brand and identity, new uniforms for our team at Middlemore Hospital (to be revealed in July) and successful placement of volunteers on some of our Wards, (Wards 4, 10 and 11 and shortly Wards 8 and 9).  This valuable resource compliments the work our staff are doing, by helping out at meal times, taking patients for a walk or just being there for patients who may not have anyone else to talk to.  It’s that “spirit of care” that makes someone’s time in hospital a bit brighter Our volunteer service also provide admin support for areas that need an extra pair of hands.   

Every contribution our volunteers make is rewarding, not only for the patient, whaanau and visitors on the receiving end of care but also for the volunteers themselves.  That’s the driving force that keeps people coming back each week, and I’m extremely grateful for their dedication, hard work and the wonderful job that they do.  

Our volunteers are a group of people from our community with lots of compassion, skills and experience to offer.   If you would like to know more about the volunteer service at Middlemore Hospital, please contact Neshanee Naidoo via email:  Neshanee.Naidoo@middlemore.co.nz

To all of our volunteers, thank you for dedicating your time to make our hospital a better place for our staff patients, whaanau and visitors.

Neshanee Naidoo,  Manager, Volunteer Service, Middlemore Hospital and Ron Pearson, Deputy CEO


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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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