Hospital volunteers’ remarkable service to local hospitals

The volunteers at public hospitals on the Mid North Coast gifted $240,000 in equipment and more than 88,700 volunteer hours in support of patients, doctors and nurses in the past financial year.

The remarkable figures were revealed at the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW North Eastern Region Zone Day, held recently at Urunga Golf Club.

Kempsey UHA Branch President Aileen Lewthwaite with fellow volunteers Tom Counihan, Helen Counihan and Pat Major at the UHA Zone Day at Urunga.

Kempsey UHA Branch President Aileen Lewthwaite with fellow volunteers Tom Counihan, Helen Counihan and Pat Major at the UHA Zone Day at Urunga.

The conference was attended by UHA and Pink Ladies representatives from Wingham to Coffs Harbour and west to the Dorrigo plateau, as well as the UHA’s State President Linda Swales.

The UHA volunteers purchased ultrasound machines, refurbished patient rooms, bought new equipment for operating theatres and Emergency Departments, electric beds, wheelchairs, ECG machines and much more, prompting words of encouragement and appreciation from the State President.

“We are challenged daily by requests placed on wish lists,” Mrs Swales said.

“We gladly take on those challenges. We fundraise longer and harder to accomplish the lists. The equipment presented to us from Health Managers is just not ‘I want’ – it’s equipment that is so very much needed to assist all.”

Mrs Swales added that the volunteers brought much more than fundraising to the table.

“The positivity that we the members show with smiles and hours of dedicated fundraising certainly has a significant impact within our communities and on society, by just giving a little and having big hearts.

“Volunteering and fundraising is our core business and we do it well.”

Regional representative Dee Hunter of BowraMacksville branch also thanked the region’s 541 members and reflected on a year of achievements.

Highlights included Life Memberships, the UHA’s highest award, to two Mid North Coast members – Helen Counihan of Kempsey, who has given 20 years’ service and held executive branch positions for 16 years, and Nita McKnight who has volunteered at Dorrigo Hospital for 60 years.

Guest speaker and Macksville Hospital’s Acting Executive Officer/Director of Nursing Janelle Goodall also thanked the volunteers on behalf of Mid North Coast Local Health District.

“The United Hospital Auxiliary and Pink Ladies are an exceptional group of people within our hospitals who embody dedication and care to all,” Mrs Goodall said.

“You devote your time to listen to people’s stories, you show compassion and empathy and you are highly regarded by all who meet you and have the honour of working with you. Where would our hospitals be without you?”