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National funding supports volunteer schemes in Darlington and Durham A&E departments

  • Department of Health has granted approximately £38,000 to fund additional volunteer support
  • More than 20 extra volunteers will be on hand to support clinical teams in Darlington and Durham hospitals

The Trust is pleased to announce an increase in volunteer support for older people in Darlington Memorial and University North Durham Hospitals.

The Department of Health has given £38,000 in additional grant funding for the Royal Voluntary Service and British Red Cross to provide more volunteers across A&E departments.

The volunteers are fully trained and will work alongside clinical teams to provide a professional service both in hospitals and in the local community - intended to reduce delayed discharge and ensure older people are being looked aftersupport older people returning to their communities for continuing care.

Approximately 20 additional volunteers will be joining hospital staff in the two hospitals, building upon services that the charities already have in place. More than 200 older patients are anticipated to benefit from these changes.

David McCullough, Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service said: "Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have been supporting the NHS since it was founded in 1948 and we are pleased this additional funding will enable us to work alongside clinical teams in Durham and Darlington to improve the wellbeing of older people. With an ageing population putting mounting pressure on hospitals and local authorities, we believe this is where the voluntary sector can prove invaluable.

"We know that the emotional and practical support our trained volunteers provide can aid the recovery of older patients, reducing delayed discharge and easing the pressure faced by busy A&E departments."

Jane Coak, Sister in the Emergency Department at Darlington Memorial Hospital said: "We are delighted to continue working in partnership with the RVS and Red Cross to support our older patients who come into A&E. These services provide support both to staff and patients within the departments but also deliver support to patients in their homes which helps reduce delays in discharge and provides reassurance to both staff and patients about continuing support once the patient is back in their community."

Health Minister Lord Howe said:
"The NHS has worked with expert charities including Age UK, British Red Cross and the Royal Voluntary Service for decades to make sure patients get specialist extra support when they most need it. Around 700 volunteers will help mostly older patients once they leave hospital as part of this £1.2m project, which is on top of the record £700m that the Government has provided for 700 more doctors, 4500 more nurses and 5000 more beds.  

Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said:
"I'm delighted that we are building on the success of existing social action pilots to help improve the health of communities across the England. The additional £1.2m funding that I am announcing today will have the potential to help people to stay well for longer, recover from illness and injury and improve patient experiences. These 29 projects will further demonstrate how the power of volunteers can make a real difference to public services."

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital