Making a difference for patients at UCLH

Volunteer

Volunteers play an important part in helping UCLH deliver a high quality patient experience. Roles include ward-based volunteering, welcome teams and information and support services.

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Volunteer for us

UCLH offers a wide range of roles for volunteers to get involved to improve the patient experience at UCLH. 

Our volunteers come from many different backgrounds with wide-ranging skills. Everyone is different, some are previous patients and some are skilled professionals or medical students, who want to give something back, and learn from the front line. If you would like to volunteer at UCLH, you can view all of the roles that we are actively recruiting for and apply online.

For more information about volunteering at UCLH, please contact: Trustees@uclh.nhs.uk

A volunteer serving soup at lunchtime
A volunteer serving soup at lunchtime

Ward based

Roles that support inpatients include ward volunteers who interact with patients, help around meal times and facilitate activities. There are also qualified complementary therapists carrying out therapies such as Reiki or reflexology. Last year, the team introduced the “boredom busting” trolley – a service that enables patients to access free magazines, newspapers, games and arts activities to keep them occupied whilst receiving treatment.

Volunteers encourage play for young people so they feel more relaxed and settled in the hospital environment. The team also brings PAT dogs to certain wards and departments such as the radiotherapy department, which has been an astounding success.

Catherine Gardener, play specialist, says, “We have a growing team of volunteers working within paediatrics and they are wonderful! They allow us to do so more while getting to know the wards and departments and becoming part of the team. Volunteers can take some time to support but we find this investment is more than returned”.

A volunteer making paper flowers with a patient
A volunteer making paper flowers with a patient

Welcome teams

Our welcome team volunteers support our outpatient areas,  providing a warm welcome to visitors, helping them check in and by directing and escorting them to hospital services and departments. At the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, volunteers of this kind have assisted with supporting cancer patients for five years, and patients have benefitted from a smoother and easier process.

Dr Hilary Plant, joint clinical lead for supportive cancer care and head of the Macmillan support and information centre, says, “Volunteering has enabled us to improve the experience of the patients and families that visit the cancer centre. From a warm greeting at the door when you arrive to facilitating a writing group or supporting the welfare rights advisors”.

Information and support

Our information and support volunteers give information about services and work behind the scenes to keep patients informed and reassured. This often requires a lot of problem solving, which members of the support team are specially trained for.  

Martin Valls Garcia, medical student and winner of the volunteer of the year award, says, “Volunteering has truly expanded my horizons and pushed me to meet new people and be in situations that I had never been before."

Office based

Other volunteers support our non-clinical areas by providing basic office and administration support. Along with basic office roles this includes a role within our neonatal unit where reception volunteers have helped improve out of hours access to the department enabling visitors to better access the unit and increasing the time clinical staff have with the babies.