Treating patients as people
Why do hospitals need help from volunteers?
In an age of high-tech medicine, what do members of the public offer?
To find the answer, you only have to think about the basic human needs of patients.
Until you have experienced it for yourself it is easy to underestimate the value of a friendly face, the offer of a drink, someone to show you to your ward or just a kind word when you're feeling worried.
In hundreds of hospitals, Friends run shops, cafes, trolley services and home & hospital visiting services, all vital services for both staff, patients and their visitors.
With the £45m raised each year Friends also finance the development of many care services which fall outside available health budgets, from therapeutic counselling, to new scanners for faster treatment and diagnosis.
New projects and initiatives are often reliant on voluntary support and funding. In a large psychiatric hospital, St Clements in London, the Friends have a writing project enabling patients to use their own experience as the starting point for original and award-winning work.