Hospital trust's 'legendary' volunteer awarded MBE


A volunteer described as “a legend” by colleagues at Southampton’s teaching hospitals has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his pioneering work in recruiting and mentoring young people.

Malcolm Kitson has seen more than 800 students and others looking for a career in healthcare pass through his tailored programme to prepare them for further study or work during his nine years at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust.

He personally trains each volunteer to carry out patient surveys and perform a variety of roles on the wards to maintain consistency and enable hospital staff to benefit quickly from additional support.

“Malcolm has developed a programme which enables students and others wishing to pursue a career in the NHS access to practical, appropriate and directly relevant experience and he deserves the utmost credit,” said Kim Sutton, voluntary services manager at SUHT.

In addition, the 75-year-old spends his three days a week at Southampton General Hospital supporting staff on wards by talking to and reassuring patients, helping at mealtimes and lending a hand to release nurses to perform other tasks.

Kim added: “His attention to detail, enthusiasm to help and his flexibility has earned the respect of ward staff, peers and patients, and his sustained voluntary service has made him something of a legend.”

Malcolm has also received specialist nutrition and dietetic training to become a volunteer ‘feeding buddy’ for older patients.

He said: “Words can’t express how I’m feeling at the moment – I am extremely humbled and very grateful to be recognised for something I am so passionate about.

“To be so highly thought of among my colleagues, medical staff, all of our volunteers and, most importantly, our patients is priceless.”

Posted on Monday 13 June 2011