The volunteers were introduced to the team to help support clinical staff by offering holistic and pastoral support to patients.
Helen Fyall, lead chaplain, said: “This is a really exciting new venture for our hospital, not only because it’s new but also because we think it is going to bring real benefit to a busy and often highly pressured environment.
"There is an increasing need to provide patients with pastoral care and the resource is sometimes very limited in hospital settings. These volunteers will have the time to sit with often very vulnerable patients who maybe need a listening ear or some friendly advice.”
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The idea came from Sheffield based organisation ED Pastors UK whichset up an initiative to enable volunteers from local churches to visit patients attending emergency departments in hospitals across the UK.
Volunteer ED pastors from Sheffield came to train local volunteers at Peterborough City Hospital and 16 have now completed their induction and had a training day. They will work in teams of two or three and will undertake tasks including sitting with patients who are in distress and offering comfort and prayer if requested, as well as more practical jobs like finding chairs, making drinks and responding to staff referrals.
Daniel Brown, team manager in the Emergency Department, is already seeing the benefit of having the volunteers working with them: “I would like to say how valuable the ED pastors already are. They are a great support to patients and staff in the department. I think it’s a wonderful idea and hope it’s successful in all the hospitals it is being brought in to.”