Julia and Ben with Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
19 May 2016
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Melbourne Health volunteers Val and Peter Simpson and Julia Gorton and Benjamin Sutu, were recognised at the 8th 2016 Minister for Health Volunteer Awards, held yesterday.

The awards recognised 16 individuals and teams who generously devote their time and talents in hospitals, ambulance services, community health, mental health and aged care.

Outstanding achievement by a young volunteer - Julia Gorton and Benjamin Sutu, Melbourne Health

First Volunteering for The Royal Melbourne Hospital Music Therapy Department in 2011, Julia and Ben are the team leaders for 24 volunteers for the Medical Students for Music and Wellbeing @RMH program. In the program, medical and science students donate their time and skills to perform soothing and uplifting music in the hospital’s foyers and hallways. Every week they provide more than 30 hours of live music, positively influencing the hospital environment and bringing joy to patients, staff and visitors.

Outstanding achievement by a volunteer: improving the patient experience – Valerie and Peter Simpson, Melbourne Health

Valerie and Peter are changing the culture of RMH. Through sharing the story of their own experience and challenging us to genuinely engage patients and carers as equals and partners in their care. They have helped us to move towards a truly person-centred model of care. Valerie's chronic condition has meant that both she, and her husband Peter, have spent many months receiving care as an inpatient and many hours waiting for appointments as an outpatient. She required many months of support in our ICU, unable to communicate or move in her bed. She recalls feeling scared, frustrated and vulnerable. Despite these challenges, they volunteer as consumer representatives for the Royal Melbourne Hospital in many capacities, including attending ICU Quality Committees, the Education Governance Committee, Nightlife working groups and various focus groups and planning events.

Congratulations to Valeria and Peter, and Julia and Ben on their awards. Also congratulations to Melbourne Health nominees: Audrey Cheah (Consumer Representative) – Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer: Supporting Diversity; Barbara Haynes (Volunteer Guide) – Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award; and Shirley Cullum (BreastScreen Victoria Volunteer) – Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer: Improving the Patient Experience.

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For more information about this story, contact Communications on (03) 9342 7000 or email mh-communications@mh.org.au