A HOSPITAL volunteer said she believes plans to bring in new uniforms is a “complete waste of money”.
Diane Hardy said she was outraged when she received a letter telling her she would now have to wear a regulation-issue white polo shirt instead of a tabard.
The memo, dated August 31, came from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s hospitals, and runs the volunteer programme at all three sites.
The 63-year-old, of Nursery Close, Lancing, said she believes the trust’s money should be being used on more important things, such as patient care.
She said: “I’m speaking out because it’s just so wrong. The money is my biggest gripe, as they don’t need to waste it on things like this.
“Any volunteer would probably tell you they need a tabard because it has pockets and is more practical. And is white really a suitable colour?
“I don’t really think the trust has thought this through or taken the time to ask us.”
Diane works every Friday afternoon, making tea for patients on the medical day case unit, and said she needs a tabard as it is a messy job.
She added: “When my late husband was in hospital, on a ward where they used nebulisers, you would see people getting short of breath while they waited for one of the two machines to become free.
“And when my son had meningitis, they had to roll up a blanket to make a pillow, because they didn’t have one – these are the kinds of things they should be spending money on.”
But the trust has hit back, saying the cost of polo shirts will be cheaper in the long run as they cost £6 and tabards cost between £8-£10.
However, the initial outlay will for 500 shirts will be £3,000.
They also argue the standard shirts will help patients identify volunteers from other voluntary workers, such as those from the Red Cross and the WRVS.
Denise Farmer, director of organisational development and leadership, said: “Our volunteers can offer a huge amount of help and support to patients and their visitors, and we want to ensure that they can be identified as easily as possible.
“The new uniforms will allow our volunteers to be readily visible and accessible to people coming into our hospitals, and also offer better value than the uniforms we have used previously.”
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