The astonishing commitment of Mid North Coast hospital volunteers was celebrated at the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW's recent North East Region Zone Day at Wauchope.
About 60 volunteers representing the UHA and Pink Ladies at hospitals and community health centres from Coffs Harbour to Wingham attended the annual get-together, which this year was hosted by the Wauchope Hospital Volunteers.
Branch reports revealed a massive $462,000 worth of equipment had been donated to Mid North Coast Local Health District hospitals and community health centres in the 2017-18 financial year and an amazing 101,000 volunteer hours had been logged by the UHA's 537 volunteers.
One of the region's smallest branches, Wauchope, recorded the most volunteer hours at a staggering 33,236, or 1778 hours for each of its 26 members.
The branch holds regular stalls at Wauchope IGA and Lake Innes Shopping Centre which enabled the volunteers to donate more than $26,700 worth of equipment to Wauchope District Memorial Hospital last financial year. Donated items included a bladder scanner and an ECG machine.
MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick attended the Zone Day to personally thank the volunteers for their time, hard work and compassion.
"These wonderful people turn up at our hospitals week after week, working in cafes, helping patients, assisting staff, providing a carpark pick-up and drop-off service for visitors and so much more," Mr Dowrick said.
"They are a vital part of our Health team on the Mid North Coast and it's an honour to know and work with them.
"We are indebted to our volunteers who are never too busy to share a kind word and a smile with our patients and our staff. They make the world of difference at all of our sites."
Also attending the Zone Day was Oxley MP Melinda Pavey, the UHA's State President Linda Swales of Batlow, the North East Regional Representative Dee Hunter of Nambucca and the Wauchope Volunteers' patron, Deputy Mayor Lisa Intemann.
"Volunteering is a wonderful way to become involved in the community and make a difference," the State President said.
"We, the members, know that giving the gift of time, skills and talents is a rewarding experience for us all.
"Our first gift is of time and our second is the gift of purchases to fulfil our commitment of care and comfort for patients, clients and residents," Mrs Swales said.
Branch President Win Secombe thanked everyone for travelling to Wauchope for the day, and thanked guest speakers Dr Julie McCloud and Wendy Jones of Byabarra Stitch Up Group and Susanne Pritchard and Mary Trotter of WDMH Palliative Care Unit.