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A hearing aid repair service for key workers, visually impaired adults and children during Covid-19

17th November 2020

Richard Birtles Mid Cheshire

Submitted by Jo Newbrook, Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (MCHFT)

MCHFT Audiology department requested the support of voluntary services to collect and deliver hearing aids from two local community locations. Richard Birtles, a former volunteer in the Emergency Department before Covid, agreed to take on this role. Richard loved his work in the ED, but when we needed to withdraw volunteers from this area due to Covid he was eager to find an alternative role and was happy to consider something brand new.

By covering all the required shifts on a Monday to Friday has resulted in no other volunteers being required to support this service; allowing them to be utilised in other areas of pressure. Sometimes his services have been called upon at short notice but Richard has always been flexible and ready to assist. Richard has helped to shape the role and has made a positive difference to the patient experience and also to staff

Richard has supported the Audiology department with this new service, since its launch in April 2020 and is still the sole volunteer supporting it. He is always cheerful and has a real "Can do" attitude, has integrated into the Audiology team well and makes a positive contribution.

A representative from Audiology said:Richard’s contribution to our service has been exceptional and invaluable. He is reliable and flexible and is always a delight to work alongside. His assistance and his delivery have been pivotal to the success of the repair & maintenance hearing aid service continuity, helping to keep patients safe & meeting patients’ needs. Richard has been an integral member of the team and we are extremely grateful for his assistance.”

Richard collects Hearing aids from locations in both Crewe and Northwich, delivering them to the service at Leighton hospital, where they are repaired and manages his time effectively to collect from the two sites and coordinate the returns to both.

Richard has recently offered to also take on a second role, supporting the return of visiting to the hospital, fitting this shift around the audiology role.

Richard is a pleasure to work with; friendly and supportive, always willing to help, his positivity is contagious!

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