COMPASSIONATE and caring NHS staff are being celebrated to honour their dedication to supporting patients and staff across south Essex hospitals.

Alongside the thousands of employees working at the Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, more than 700 volunteers give up their time for free to help at Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals.

They assist patients with meals, help those struggling to find their way to different hospital departments, and support the work of ward staff by delivering documents between departments.

Dementia volunteer - Clive HardyDementia volunteer - Clive Hardy (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Trust)

The trust is highlighting the work of its 700 volunteers as part of Volunteers Week, running from June 3 to June 9.

Jonathan Wright, senior voluntary services manager at the trust, said: “We are really fortunate to have a wonderful group of people who want to support our paid colleagues in delivering the highest standards of patient care.

“They give up their time, showing dedication, compassion, and commitment.

“We are immensely grateful for their invaluable contributions and the difference they make every day.”

Among the volunteers is Maisy Smith from Hockley, who has been volunteering as a ward runner at Southend Hospital, delivering samples, medical supplies, and documents to different departments, for nine months.

She is set to start a new job at the hospital as a radiology porter and believes her voluntary work has been instrumental to her success.

Feeding buddies - Trevor and Gill BaileyFeeding buddies - Trevor and Gill Bailey (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Trust)

She said: “Volunteering has really boosted my confidence.

“Working with both staff and patients, it’s nice to know that what I’m doing is helping others.

“Many of the staff I have dealt with have helped me with references, so it’s been a massive help.”

Husband and wife Trevor and Gill Bailey from Billericay volunteer as feeding buddies at Basildon hospital, supporting patients during mealtimes.

Mr Bailey said: “The most amazing part of being a volunteer is seeing patients improve.

“We don’t do this for any rewards or gratitude, we simply want to help others.”

Clive Hardy from Chelmsford has been a dementia volunteer at Broomfield Hospital for nine years, offering friendship to patients on the elderly care wards.

He said: “As a volunteer you’ve got time to listen, and it makes patients’ experience in hospital much more pleasant. It’s been a privilege and I would recommend it to anyone.”