It is an absolute pleasure to announce that one of our most highly committed and dedicated volunteers, Vera Mitchell, has been appointed MBE by the Queen in the Birthday Honours List in recognition of her services to NHS patients in Plymouth.
A long-serving volunteer in various departments, Vera has been selflessly giving her time, sharing her experiences and supporting patients and staff at Derriford Hospital for more than 17 years.
In 1998, Vera was diagnosed with cancer for the third time and after treatment and recovery, she wanted to give something back to the hospital and that she most certainly has.
Well-known and respected by so many, Vera has given her time to ensure our patients, and their experiences, are at the centre of all we do at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
Volunteering in our Emergency and Critical Care Departments, Vera spends at least two days each week supporting patients, often at times of great emotional distress for patients and staff. She is also a volunteer with our Chaplaincy team.
Vera gives her time to working with clinical colleagues to put the needs of our patients first in service redesign, as well as ensuring policies and information on infection control are strongly patient focused.
Additionally, thanks to Vera setting up and chairing the Trust’s Patient Experience Committee, she has ensured that our complaints process is more responsive and she has helped the Trust in ensuring we find the right ‘voice’ in the tone and content of our written communications with our patients; advising staff on template letters and information leaflets.
These are just some of Vera’s many incredible achievements.
Speaking of her appointment, Vera said: “It’s an unexpected honour and delight to be appointed an MBE for my voluntary work at Derriford Hospital.
“It’s a special joy and privilege to be associated with Derriford and its patients. 19 years ago I was a patient there, when the skills and the compassion of its staff saved my life.
“I have been a volunteer there for 17 years and Derriford has contributed to my wellbeing in many ways, through my various voluntary roles. Each week I spend time with patients and their relatives, contributing in various ways to their wellbeing.
“I’m also part of at least eight staff teams, all of which work to continuously improve all aspects of care for patients, and therefore, to improve their experience of Derriford.
“The opportunities I’ve had to serve patients at Derriford and to support its staff are very rewarding. Of course I am proud of the MBE but I’m no less proud of wearing my Plymouth Hospitals NHS identity badge.”
Ann James, Chief Executive of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are extremely proud of Vera. She has touched the lives of thousands of patients and members of staff and is, quite simply, an inspiration to all who meet her.
“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this accolade and to be recognised for such dedication and commitment to patients and hospital staff. On behalf of everyone at Plymouth Hospitals, I would just like to say a huge congratulations to Vera and thank you for all you do.”