New volunteer role helps patients requiring extra support at cancer centre

A new ‘buddy’ volunteer support role has launched at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, to assist patients who require extra support with attending their appointments or cancer treatments.

A ‘buddy’ volunteer will act as a host for visitors to the centre and they will provide guidance and support in a number of different ways, including by:

  • meeting them when they arrive,
  • helping them locate departments,
  • bringing them drinks and refreshments,
  • keeping them company.

Each volunteer has had extra training that will aid them with supporting patients with additional needs, such as those with sight or hearing problems.

Above: Joan Eames, a ‘buddy’ volunteer at the centre

Joan Eames, a ‘buddy’ volunteer at the centre, said:

“Being diagnosed with cancer can be a lonely and frightening experience. Having someone like me at your side when you are attending appointments, treatments and experiencing a new situation alone can help make the experience a little less stressful.”

Lyn Ives, accessibility co-ordinator at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, said:

“Volunteer ‘buddies’ are an exciting additional service for patients who may need extra support during their visit, for example, patients with mild dementia, a brain tumour or an elderly frail person arriving on hospital transport with no family support.

“Since the role has been launched, we have seen benefits for both patients and staff. More patients are attending appointments and treatments on time, and are less anxious about coming to the hospital, particularly with finding the correct department.

“If patients or carers have any questions about the service, they can contact me by calling 0203 826 2217 or emailing mvccaccessibility.enh-tr@nhs.net. If you are interested in joining our successful team of volunteers at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, please call 0203 826 2515 or email volunteeringmvcc.enh-tr@nhs.net.”