Ken Benton will have been a Walsall Healthcare volunteer for nine years this October and many visitors to the Intensive Care Unit at the Manor Hospital will have been met by this friendly helper.
“I’m here to welcome relatives and direct them to their loved ones’ bedsides after confirming it’s OK to do so by nursing staff,” explained the local grandfather who is sharing his experience as part of national Vounteers Week which runs from 1-7 June.
“I used to work in the old Intensive Therapy Unit and this new unit is absolutely superb in comparison. It’s so light and airy and while there are critically ill patients here with lots of machines and equipment being used it is so much quieter. It is a lot better for them and their families.”
Ken, aged 75, is convinced he has an unbreakable link to the NHS.
“I worked in retail and sales before becoming a driving instructor but looking back I think I’d have liked to work in the NHS,” he said.
“My wife was a nurse cadet when we first met so she’s always had an NHS connection and I’ve been treated for shoulder problems and cancer of the larynx and feel like volunteering is payback time to the NHS for the great care I’ve had.
“Here in critical care the doctors and nurses and the porters and domestics are all amazing people; everyone is so kind and compassionate. I like to speak up for the fantastic NHS whenever I can because to me it’s a wonderful thing.
“And I’d encourage people thinking of becoming a volunteer to apply. It’s so worthwhile and you do feel you’re making a difference. Here on the ICU we need volunteers to cover the visiting hours of 12noon until 8pm and also weekends so if anyone can just spare an hour or two here and there it will be much appreciated.”
Anyone who would like to become a volunteer should contact the Volunteer Service on 01922 656689 or email firstname.lastname@example.org