Volunteers have started work to improve patients' experiences at a hospital accident and emergency department.
There was a good response to an appeal for people to join the volunteer scheme at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
Consultants and nurses came up with the idea following complaints from some patients they were not being seen because the department was so busy.
The red-shirted volunteers can sit with patients and reassure them.
The hospital said the new volunteers bridged the gap between nurses and patients and that they could sit with people without being distracted by other demands in the hospital.
The scheme has had a positive response from patients, a hospital spokesman said.
One of the volunteers, Alice Large who is retired, said she was enjoying the role and that it was helping to take some of the pressure off nurses.
She said: "A lot of patients call me an angel, because you go in and have a little talk with them and out them at their ease and ask them if they want any refreshments."
- 4 August 2010