Supporting patients at Finchley Memorial Hospital
7 December 2021
COVID restrictions saw many volunteering positions at the Royal Free Charity put on hold, but as we support the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust with their pandemic recovery, some new roles have been created.
Chandu is one of a team of volunteers who have recently started providing support at the clinical diagnostic hub in Finchley Memorial Hospital.
“My role is to meet and greet patients, make sure they’re checked in at reception, and guide them to the waiting area. This is important as the waiting areas for different departments – CT scans, MRI, ultrasound, ophthalmology – are in different places.”
The role came naturally to Chandu, having spent years working with the public, holding various positions with Transport for London: “I’d always dealt with people in my job, helping them from one place to another, being in front of the public and answering their questions.”
Having made the decision to volunteer, Chandu had a plethora of voluntary organisations vying for his attention. In the end it was an easy choice, given his experiences to date and his preference for working with a local charity close to his heart.
“Both of my girls were born at the Royal Free Hospital and my wife has been treated there many times for an ongoing medical condition, so it made sense to volunteer with the Royal Free Charity.”
Having been a volunteer since 2013, including a stint supporting the vaccination programme at the StoneX stadium, Chandu finally feels he’s found his ideal role, helping to put people at ease.
“Once a patient sees there’s someone to help them, they’re happy – they feel looked after. Our job is to make things easier for them at a time when they may feel stressed or anxious – they may be having a scan for something quite serious.
“The whole thing is an experience; they come through the door, go to reception, see a volunteer, then see a consultant – everyone has a role to play in reassuring them.”
And Chandu likes the fact that his role sparks conversations with others, who then want to get involved: “People often say me ‘oh, are you a volunteer? You’re doing a great job. I’d like to do it’ – when they see people on the front line, it inspires them to get in touch.”