VOLUNTARY ‘reservists’ are said to be playing a vital role across Somerset’s hospitals.

The unpaid reservists were first assembled in response to the Covid pandemic, but many have been kept on so hospitals can continue to benefit from their skills.

The Somerset NHS Foundation Trust said hundreds of reservists are making a difference across more than 40 departments.

One of those reservists is RAF veteran Kevin Boseley, who works in the orthotics department in Musgrove Park Hospital. Mr Boseley said he ‘loved’ the role, which sees him putting his skills to use while in retirement. He said: “When the COVID-19 pandemic began I struggled with the concept of working from home and I felt it was time to retire.

“I didn’t want to give up work completely though, so I volunteered to become a marshal at the vaccination centres, where I showed people to the right place. 

“I loved my time there and when I spoke to some of the managers, they told me that they were introducing a new NHS reservist programme, which sounded right up my street. 

“Through the reservist programme, I took up an admin role, again for the vaccination programme, which is where I met Wendy Hooper – who was also working on the programme alongside her day job as orthotics manager at the trust.

“With the vaccination programme beginning to wind down a little, I moved across to another admin role, this time in orthotics, which involved ordering equipment for a variety of patient needs – very much drawing on the logistics roles I’ve had during my career.

“I did a bit of a stock take in the store room and realised it needed to be put in a bit more order, so I made it my job to tidy and sort things out, making it easier for colleagues to know what equipment we have in stock at any one time.

“Now I have a series of spreadsheets that tells me what the usage of equipment is and what stock levels we need to keep of various things, as well as adding new items, such as a new type of brace. 

“I’ve even been able to identify a few instances where a manufacturer has got the development of an item wrong, so I’ve gone back to discuss it with them, alongside our procurement colleagues.

“I absolutely love my role, especially how flexible it is, as Wendy allows me to come in at any time that suits me.

“The colleagues here are great and I absolutely love meeting new people as I make a point of speaking to our patients to make them smile and help put them at ease.”

Orthotics manager Wendy Hooper added: “Having Kevin here as a reservist means that as clinicians, we no longer need to worry about our stock levels because he does this for us. 

“The magic thing about Kevin is that I can ask how many knee braces we’d ordered in the last month, for example, and he’d have the answer at his fingertips.”