At a time when the efforts of volunteers in the
community are championed – in fact National Volunteers Week kicks off on Monday – it is a pity that the
relationship between a group of women and Maitland Hospital has been allowed to reach breaking point.
A group of Pink Ladies, as they are affectionately known, with 100 years of volunteering experience between them, have quit working at the hospital amid claims and counter claims of breaking the hospital’s code of conduct, mistreatment, and bullying and harassment.
The women are heartbroken, and the hospital says it too is greatly saddened over what has transpired.
In a health system that is constantly under-resourced and overstretched, Pink Ladies play a vital role,
supporting both patients and staff.
On top of being ill, being in hospital can be a
frightening and lonely experience for patients. The tasks performed by the Pink Ladies may be simple, but their work can make the difference between a patient believing they have received good care in hospital, and not.
The hospital has a duty to ensure that its standards are met; similarly, it has a responsibility to investigate claims of bullying and harassment and where they are proven, ensure that it is stamped out.
It also must value and respect the years of service
tirelessly devoted to it by its team of volunteers.
As Volunteering Australia’s website accurately records, volunteers contribute more than 700 million hours of community service, and many organisations would struggle to survive without their help.
For the sake of future patients, the bridge between this group of Pink Ladies and the hospital needs to be rebuilt.