A RECORD figure of over $250,000 has been raised by the Orange hospital auxiliary in the last 12 months despite the volunteers being labelled as slow and old.
President of the volunteer group Tracy Wilkinson told members at the group’s annual general meeting on Monday they should be proud of a magnificent effort. However, she was disappointed in feedback she received from hospital staff labelling the hospital kiosk “The Alzheimer’s Coffee Shop”.
“I have been personally having a few tests and procedures over the last couple of months and without telling people who I am I have been asking questions about the auxiliary coffee shop,” Ms Wilkinson said.
“I must say I am quite surprised at the responses. Evidently we have gained the reputation as the Alzheimer’s Coffee Shop.
“It shows a total lack of understanding and patience on the staff’s behalf.”
Ms Wilkinson said volunteers were expected to produce toasted sandwiches and other food in two minutes.
“If you go to any other establishment you can expect to wait up to 20 minutes,” she said.
Ms Wilkinson said Orange Health Service general manager Catherine Nowlan was at the AGM and apologised to the volunteers, saying the negative comments were isolated and not indicative of the high regard in which they are held at the hospital.
The record amount of money will be distributed to various hospital departments on recommendations from an in-house committee comprising clinicians and Ms Wilkinson.
Ms Wilkinson said the organisation continued to face the challenge of not enough volunteers to keep the kiosk open for longer hours.
She told the Central Western Daily full-time workers who couldn’t volunteer their time during the day would be welcome with open arms to work a 5pm to 7pm shift to cater for volunteers who find themselves having to work a double shift due to staff shortages.
Being able to open the extra hours would be a great benefit to staff and families of patients, Ms Wilkinson said.
“After 5pm there is nowhere you can get anything to eat in the hospital,” she said.
Vice-president Flo Corban said volunteers put in a huge effort at the kiosk.
“The thing is this is really hard work,” she said.
“You are on your feet for hours and you have to go flat out and some of the people who have come along to help us out just quit because the work is too hard,” she said.
Ms Wilkinson said the auxiliary had 25 new members in the last year but many had left after a short time.
“People are genuinely amazed at how hard we work when they actually try it,” she said.
Ms Wilkinson told the AGM on Monday the hospital kiosk’s operation in the last year involved “positives and negatives”.
“But I think the positive achievements far outweigh the negative,” she said.
One of the major challenges facing the group is restoring a trolley service that is currently on hold.
Ms Wilkinson said with 5km of corridors in the hospital pushing a trolley around was a major effort for volunteers.
She said the group was looking at the option of a motorised trolley so the service for patients could be restored.