Tipperary Civil Defence and Nenagh Hospital PALS are honoured for volunteerism

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Tipperary Civil Defence and Nenagh Hospital PALS are honoured for volunteerism

At the breakfast for volunteers, Cathal Byrnes and Niall Boland, Irish Red Cross; Prof Colette Cowan, UL Hospitals Group; Anthony Graham, Tipperary Civil Defence and Jos Kirby, Limerick Civil Defe

University Hospital Limerick has hosted a breakfast in honour of the dozens of volunteers working across UL Hospitals Group to improve the patient experience.

Taking place during National Volunteers Week, the event not only recognised those volunteers who support patients week in, week out; but also those who volunteered during Storm Emma to keep essential hospital services running.

There are well over 100 volunteers working in a variety of different roles across the UL Hospitals Group. These include the PALS (Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service) volunteers who support patients in UHL, Ennis and Nenagh; Irish Cancer Society volunteers in the Daffodil Centre, “Care to Drive” and “Thriving & Surviving”; volunteers in the Children’s Ark; volunteers in the Cancer Information and Support Centre and the Eucharistic ministers.

All these groups were invited to the breakfast as were representatives of those organisations who assisted in transporting patients, staff and supplies to and from hospitals across the region during Storm Emma. Volunteer agencies represented on the day included Tipperary Civil Defence; Limerick Civil Defence (City & County); Clare Civil Defence; the Irish Red Cross and the Irish Coast Guard.

Welcoming all the volunteers, Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “Every year, tens of thousands of hours are given freely to our hospitals by groups of people who make such a difference to the patients and families who use our services every day. You bring skills, experience, expertise, inspiration, friendship, companionship and leadership, something that is as keenly appreciated by the hospital staff almost as much as it is by the patients.

“Many of us are time-poor through family, work and other commitments and the hospital environment can appear particularly fast-paced. Our volunteers give most generously of that most precious resource and we are all inspired by them”.

Prof Cowan also paid tribute to the work of the volunteer partners who assisted during Storm Emma.

“Rescheduling outpatient appointments and elective surgery formed part of our preparation for the recent extreme weather events. But we still faced considerable business continuity challenges in keeping our essential services open. Our staff showed huge commitment in getting to hospital and working long hours during the worst of the weather. And our volunteer agencies in the MidWest also stepped in when they were needed most to ensure critical service areas like the Emergency Department, theatre, Critical Care, Neonatal and the Labour Ward to name but a few had the staff and the supplies they needed to stay in operation,” said Prof Cowan.

Miriam McCarthy, patient advocacy liaison services manager, UL Hospitals Group, added: “It is important on National Volunteer Week that we acknowledge all the hard work, the time and the commitment our volunteers give across the UL Hospitals Group. They have a hugely positive impact on the patient experience. Our volunteers give of their own time and expertise and without them our hospital services would be so much the poorer.”

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Miriam McCarthy on 061-482448, or Catherine Hand on 061-485259, or email volunteers.ulhospitals@hse.ie