“Great, helpful, friendly staff. DON’T CHANGE!”

Just over one  week to go….and a huge thank you to our supporters !

Over the last few weeks, hundreds of patients, staff and visitors have expressed their support for the shops and cafes run by the three Friends’ charities to continue to  provide vital services to the communities served by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The response has been amazing, and we are very grateful.

At the latest count, an online petition organised by an independent supporter has so far attracted almost 1300 “signatures”, and many heartwarming comments from patients, visitors and staff.

Our random survey of customers at the three hospitals now stands at 1364, with over 99.9 % stating that they wish the Friends volunteers to continue providing the service. So many lovely comments – showing how much customers love the current service!

There is also firm support for the Friends’ Ward Trolley service, at St Richards Hospital, which currently operates 7 days a week throughout the year, and which is likely to be lost if the shop which supports it is contracted to a commercial provider. The Friends’ trolley volunteers cover all wards, including the Fernhurst Cancer Day Unit, and a special trolley goes to Maternity and other remote areas.

Patients and staff speak warmly of the pleasure a simple “normal” activity such as buying a newspaper or birthday card can give, with a friendly chat with a trolley volunteer lightening the boredom of a hospital day.

Friends Hospital Trolley Volunteers

Friends Hospital Trolley Volunteers

Staff are taking heart from the consistently appreciative remarks of patients, staff and visitors who have been taking part in the survey or have called in to speak to staff. They emphasise the value people place on the friendliness of the volunteers, their efficiency, and appreciation of the thousands of hours of work they do, serving others, and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for vital medical equipment which the hospital could not otherwise afford.

Sincere thanks to all  who have made online comments or written to express their views to our local newspapers and to the Trust Chairman, Mike Viggers, WSHFT, St Richards Hospital, Spitalfield Lane Chichester PO19 6SE.

The Trust’s  decision is expected in late October, so there is still time for local people to put forward   their views.

Glowing feedback and typical comments include:

“Heart of the hospital. Absolutely fantastic bunch of workers & service”

“It’s a great shop! Has e everything we need and more! Please keep it!” 

“We must keep the shop as it is it is run very well and patients like and find the trolley visits to the ward invaluable”

“I love the shop & the staff & use it every day. Please don’t change it They are part of what makes the hospital so great and friendly”

“Vital for patients, relatives and staff alike. They hold so many important and useful items and provide a friendly & helpful service”

“Great, helpful, friendly staff. DON’T CHANGE!”

“Volunteers raise a lot of money for hospital – would a “high street” name store raise the same amount?”

“Friendly, helpful, well resourced shop.  Always happy to help and good opening times.Staff is always friendly and have a smile. Much more personal than a high street brand”

“Why bite the hand that feeds- if it aint broke don’t fix it. These volunteers are wonderful people”

“Don’t change this shop to a high street store, the staff here are dedicated and are here because they want to be not because they are paid to be.”







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