VOLUNTEERS which ensured Glasgow hospital patients had access to items they needed during the pandemic have been praised for their "invaluable" work.

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Give and Go service was essential in supporting patients at a time when visitations was restricted.

In March visiting at all NHSGGC hospitals was suspended to protect both patients and staff.

Only essential visits such as seeing a family member receiving end of life care were allowed to continue.

Friends and family of patients could drop off items and collect their dirty laundry.

“I simply cannot put into words just what an invaluable part the Give and Go service has played in our Covid response," said Dr Margaret McGuire, NHSGGC’s director of nursing.

"Sadly for many, many months our patients have not been able to have visitors, due to the risk of transmitting the virus.

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“Not only is this lonely for patients but at the beginning it also meant they couldn’t get essentials like fresh pyjamas and their own drinks and toiletries.

"And then came the amazing response from our volunteers! We’ve had such positive feedback from patients and families about what a difference this has made for everyone. Well done and thank you.”

A total of 83 volunteers have acted as a proxy for Glasgow Royal Infirmary patients and their families.

They deliver around 1000 a week to patients, but will sometimes need to put their foot down when chancers try to smuggle in items ranging from microwaves to alcohol.

Louise Colquhoun is the volunteer manager who runs the service.

She said: “We did expect to get the odd cigarette and lighter being smuggled in, but even we were surprised at what we got through the door!

“We have had a 55 inch telly, a microwave, and lots and lots of alcohol, some even ‘cleverly’ disguised. But we rumbled them all and returned them to their rightful owners.

“It’s been a long year for all my volunteers – we deliver around 1,000 items a week to patients. Our unusual drop-offs have kept us all on our toes and given us all a wee laugh.”Volunteers will continue to work in the run up to New Year.