Santa singers

Happy hospital radio presenters and producers will be on the air this Christmas.

By Lizzie Healey

Santa hats off to the volunteer teams delivering festive cheer over the airwaves this Christmas. The teams at Hospital Broadcasting Service (HBS) and SouthernSound are working hard this month to provide a key source of news, features and of course, festive songs to patients in hospitals across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Regular programmes from HBS and SouthernSound have been entertaining patients for nearly 50 years.

Run by volunteers, the stations work with patients on wards to build up playlists each week, providing tailored programmes with a community feel to listeners in the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Gartnavel General Hospital, Queen Elizabeth University Hospitals in Glasgow the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

It’s no secret music can have a therapeutic effect on people, and it’s never more important than when you are in hospital. Various studies have shown the benefits to patients – whether that’s to help provide a calming atmosphere before an operation, or to provide them with additional interaction and company during their stay.

This Christmas, programmes at HBS and SouthernSound will be running throughout mornings, afternoon and evenings – including live programming on Christmas Eve and Christmas day – playing festive tunes from over the decades.

In addition to providing an important service to patients, the stations provide volunteers with excellent experience in radio broadcasting alongside the satisfaction of having a positive impact on thousands of people every year.

Yvonne Boyle has been a volunteer with HBS for more than three years, originally joining up to gain valuable experience while studying media at college.

Yvonne said: “I think it’s great that patients can request their favourite songs – you never know how much a small gesture like that could mean to someone in their time of need. I think it’s more personal than the mainstream radio channels – because we’re smaller, we’re able to interact more with patients. The request collectors do a fantastic job speaking with the patients – again it’s the little things that mean the most.”

Alan Taylor has been volunteering at SouthernSound for more than 24 years and believes hospital radio can play a key role in a patient’s recovery:

“Where other radio stations provide entertainment, hospital radio has an additional, important role which is to distract people from the negative feelings or thoughts they have about being in hospital or a similar setting. This is achieved through sensitive presenting, content being relevant and engaging for the listeners, interactive elements of the programming and visits by volunteers to talk about music and other things that interest the patient.

Patients can tune into both HBS and SouthernSound either online using NHSGGC free hospital WIFI, or in the QEUH via the patient entertainment system.

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