Transplant patient returns to volunteer on GWH ward where he was treated

A transplant patient who received treatment on the Neptune Ward at the Great Western Hospital last year has returned as a regular volunteer.

Mike McGarvie, 62, a Swindon resident originally from South Africa, received a liver transplant in the summer of 2016 and was transferred to recover on the Neptune Ward at GWH.

Staff on the ward were thrilled to see Mike return in full health, ready to volunteer for his first shift last month.

He said: “I am trying my very best to give back what the NHS gave me; I was treated in three hospitals and had amazing service across the board.

“The transplant was the biggest success.

“I wanted to thank all of the staff who have treated me here, as well as my friends and family who have been so supportive.

“People are surprised by the amount of volunteers.

“We help out so that the nurses and sisters don’t have to worry about the softer aspects of care like making cups of tea.”

Mike has offered to volunteer for two days a week and has already put his name down to come in on bank holidays, including giving his time on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Each volunteer’s role is different, but many will be on the wards supporting patients, liaising with healthcare staff and assisting with meals.

Dr Moby Joseph, Consultant on Neptune Ward, said: “We are so chuffed to see him back here, fully recovered and willing to help out.”

The process to become a volunteer is as rigorous as for an employee, with interviews, references and background checks before they are trained at the hospital.

The Voluntary Services team at GWH work hard to help over 350 people of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer at the hospital.

Indra Robson, Volunteer Mentor said: “We get some volunteers who want to become doctors and others like Mike, who return after treatment to give something back.

“Mike was welcomed with open arms by everyone on Neptune Ward; it was marvellous, everyone knew him and they were delighted to have him back.

“He is a prime example of what a difference volunteers make at the hospital.”

To find out more about volunteering at the Great Western Hospital,