Keeping Patients Connected - Video Call.jpgA project that helps patients stay connected with their families - while visiting is restricted - has been allocated additional funding.

NHS England and NHS Improvement Volunteering Services Fund has allocated £16,414 to the Trust to recruit new -  and retain existing - volunteers as part of the Keeping Patients Connected project. The volunteers help patients stay in touch with their families through video calls on iPads and phone calls.

Sylvia Atherton, Patient Experience Manager at NCIC, said: "We are delighted to have been allocated additional funding to continue this project.

“It has been a successful project in that it has enabled ward staff to focus more on patients’ clinical care needs and, in doing so, has supported staff and patient wellbeing and safety.

“Patient experience has also been enhanced as a result of being able to communicate with friends and family both via video and phone calls. In instances where patients haven’t taken up the offer of the video call service, volunteers have spent time talking to isolated patients which has boosted their morale.

“Volunteers have also supported ward clerks by answering the phone, taking messages and, on some wards, have supported ward staff with reintroducing visitors.

“Ward staff have experienced first-hand the benefits of having ward based volunteers and have put multiple requests to the Volunteer Coordinator about additional tasks they would like the volunteers to do.

“We currently have 22 Keeping Patients Connected volunteers across nine wards and three hospital sites. As it stands, volunteers will be able to save ward staff 162 hours every month, which will contribute towards staff and patient wellbeing, safety and reduce some of the additional pressures which staff are feeling as a result of winter and COVID-19.”

As a result of feedback from ward staff, the volunteer task description has been reviewed and additional tasks have been added to free up time for the staff to spend on clinical tasks.

We are very keen to ensure that people stay connected as this can help aid recovery.  

Would you like to apply for one of the patient experience volunteer roles?

Visiting has recently restarted. It is strictly by appointment only and is much reduced due to cleaning and infection prevention measures. If patients contact the ward an appointment can be made for a limited time – for one adult per patient. Some wards are not able to support appointments for visiting because they are short stay or assessment wards and patients will be moved or discharged more quickly from them.

We know that some people are not able to visit for a variety of reasons so it’s hoped the investment of volunteers will help patients stay connected. As well as volunteers supporting patients to stay connected, the patient experience team are able to help get laminated messages from loved ones to patients.

Relatives can contact the patient experience team Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm who will then print and laminate the message and take it to the patient.

Relatives need to include:

  • Your loved ones name and date of birth
  • Your message with a photograph included as an email attachment if you wish.

The number to send a message is 01228 814309 | 01228 602128 or email

Patients who are attending outpatient appointments, diagnostic appointments or A&E can now bring one other person with them. This person should be a close family contact, or somebody important to you who can support you with any complex/difficult decisions.

Visiting will be suspended on wards if an outbreak of coronavirus, flu, norovirus or any other infection occurs. We will aim to contact scheduled visitors as soon as possible and we apologise in advance for the upset this may cause, however patient safety remains our highest priority.

Visitor guidance is laid out in this leaflet which is also on our public website.

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