This year there was an exciting new addition to the Statement of Priorities documents for all public health services; volunteer engagement.
Volunteers have a strong history in Victoria’s public health services and add immense value to both the patient and visitor experience. The inclusion of volunteer engagement was a source of great pride for volunteers and volunteer managers who had long advocated for the recognition of the role volunteers play in our health system.
After feedback by the LOHVE network regarding concerns by health volunteer managers with regard to the issue of ongoing and future sustainability of volunteering in our health services, it was suggested that the health sector could take a lead and have volunteer engagement front and centre as a mandatory priority for all public health services in the Statement of Priorities.
In addition, the LOHVE network has partnered with the La Trobe University to undertake the Defining the scope of volunteering practice within health and aged care services project. The project will develop a capability framework for leaders of volunteers in health and aged care services, and an implementation strategy to embed the framework in practice.
The LOHVE Network was established in 2011 in the Central and Northern regions of Victoria to support volunteer managers and coordinators within the health sector. While 75% of its members are from Victoria, the network is spread all across Australia and New Zealand and boasts more than 125 members from rural, regional and metropolitan hospitals, community health services, palliative care services, aged care facilities and health associations.
Initially the network was formed to share policy and procedures, support and ideas but over time it has evolved into a leader within the Volunteering sector. The network strives to ensure their members show great generosity in sharing operational guidelines, leadership in pushing the status quo and advocating for the volunteers that support our health services.
Sharon Walsh (Chair, LOHVE) said “the LOHVE network is very grateful for the collaboration with government – having volunteer engagement in the Statement of Priorities shows that volunteering in our health services is important and that health organisations have a responsibility to truly acknowledge and celebrate what volunteers and volunteer management contribute to Victorian Health”.