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VolServ Certificate Presentation Ceremony 2009 - 12/12/2009


VolServ aims at developing and organising voluntary health services to support patients and relatives in the main general hospital as well as in the community. The project VolServ emanates from the service partnership agreement SOS Malta     has with the Ministry for Social Policy. 

SOS Malta    , a Maltese registered NGO set-up in 1991, aims at aiding people experiencing times of crisis and empowering them by providing support services and opportunity to implement development and change in their country to ensure a better quality of life.  In all its operations in Malta and overseas, SOS Malta     also promotes volunteerism for effective sustainable development.  The organisation is a source of knowledge and advice about the role and contribution of volunteerism and the benefits of civic engagement. 

In more recent years, SOS Malta     enhanced the promotion of volunteering even locally through its pilot project VolServ.  All volunteers are involved in non-clinical aspects of patient care, and are dedicated to making the environment a little friendlier and more comfortable for our patients and their visitors. 

Some of these volunteers are A level students intending to study medicine later; others are would-be nurses or other health-care professionals who want experience of being in a hospital environment.  Retired people offer the benefit of their new-found time and energy and all the work-related and people skills they have accumulated over the years.  Some volunteers just wish to say ‘thank you' for care they (or someone dear to them) have received. 

Ms. Claudia Taylor-East, director of SOS Malta     spoke about the importance of projects that involve Government, civil society and private sector partnerships in order to reach grass root needs as well as sustainability of services.  Ms. Taylor-East also stressed the importance of volunteers especially in view of the fact that 2011 will be the European Year of Volunteering.  More than 100 million Europeans engage in voluntary activities and through this make a difference to our society.   

A Eurobarometer survey in 2006 revealed that 3 out of 10 Europeans claim to be active in a voluntary capacity and that close to 80% of respondents feel that voluntary activities are an important part of democratic life in Europe.  It is envisaged that a European Year of Volunteering will seek to promote deeper and more structured dialogue and exchange of good practices on these issues between authorities and other stakeholders in the Member States.  It will thus help improve the conditions for volunteering in the European Union. 

Ms Marion Rizzo, CEO at Mater Dei Hospital acknowledged the work and the amount of hours that volunteers put in order to provide a constant level of service throughout the whole year. 

The Hon. Dr. Joe Cassar, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, then addressed the volunteers present, stating that VolServ and the Voluntary Services Office have together fruitfully achieved  high standards for a professional and dedicated voluntary service for Mater Dei Hospital during the past 3 years.   

Dr. Cassar commented that this has been a successful initiative, and that a large part of this success is due to the commitment of volunteers providing healthcare that is patient-centred and personalised.   

The Parliamentary Secretary highlighted that volunteer services are of importance to both individual patients as well as to our healthcare system in general and concluded that as hospitals grow larger, become more specialised and technologically sophisticated, the effective use of volunteers is vital in maintaining a human and personal touch.  

Dr. Joe Cassar then presented certificates to 20 students, 59 new recruits, and 41 active volunteers who carried out a refresher course.  The whole team of volunteers which contributed to the hospital this year totalled 179 members.   

DOI - 16.12.2009


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