Your chariot awaits: Westmead Hospital volunteer driver happy to transport patients

Volunteer buggy driver Chris Michael is happy to escort anyone to the various wards and clinics at Westmead Hospital.

Mr Michael, 58, is one of a team of nine drivers on a rotating roster who drive hospital buggies as part of a free transport service for patients and guests.

“I like driving it because it assists people who can’t move around the hospital,” the Harris Park resident said.

“I’d always wanted to do some volunteer work after I retired as a way to give back to people who are less fortunate than myself.

“We get a lot of people who come in as outpatients for treatments.

‘‘It’s quite a large hospital, which makes it very difficult for people who can’t walk to get to appointments or to visit someone.”

Westmead’s director of corporate services Matthew Noone said the free buggy service began in 2007 and soon after the hospital began to receive constant praise from patients and visitors about the initiative and its courteous and pleasant drivers.

“Due to the enormous success and demand of the buggy, a second buggy was purchased in 2009,” Mr Noone said.

“We came up with the idea for the buggy to assist outpatients and visitors who experienced difficulties walking long distances between the main entrances of the hospital and their destinations,” he said.

He said the hospital welcomed local businesses to sponsor the Hospital-ity Buggies.

Westmead Hospital’s free visitor buggy service was nominated as a finalist in the 2012 NSW Health Awards.

Anyone interested in becoming a driver can call the hospital’s volunteer co-ordinator on 98457361 during business hours.

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