search Menu

A day in the life, Alister Lees, Patient Support Worker

My mornings start differently depending on what day of the week it is, as I have the potential to be based in three different hospitals.


One Monday a month, you’ll find me at the Vale of Leven Hospital. One Wednesday a week, I’m at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. However, most of my week is spent at Gartnavel, where I spend two days a week.


I take aids, equipment and Visibility Scotland factsheets with me whenever I’m at the Vale of Leven or RAH hospitals. I’ll spend some time setting everything up for the clinic’s start.


If the clinic is busy, I may speak to service users straight away, but if not, I will catch up on casework and emails. The workload can sometimes be challenging, but when I think about how many people we help every year, it inspires me to keep up all the hard work. A busy day is a reminder that many people are looking for us to support them as best as we can.


Patient support services support people of all ages and deal with a wide and varied range of eye conditions that affect people in different ways.


I’m learning all the time with the help of the on-site medical staff but mainly from the service users themselves. Listening to people tell you how their visual impairment impacts their life is invaluable. Listening to people is an essential part of what we do.


I’m often surprised by the emotion that can accompany such an open and honest description of someone’s struggles, not just from the service users and their families but from myself too. I think that’s why I’m enjoying the job so much. Just listening and being there for people to talk to, supporting them with advice and information or showing them aids and equipment makes a positive difference in people’s lives.


We run different groups and projects, such as our Positive Outlook groups or EyeCan project. It’s hugely beneficial to be able to offer these to people to help them gain confidence and independence, especially where they might have previously thought this was all but impossible.


Administrative tasks are part and parcel of the role. One of the most important tasks is processing Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) paperwork and making sure it’s correct before sending it off to local authorities within Greater Glasgow & Clyde.


It may have to do with chasing up signatures and details, but I feel this is a great way to catch any issues that may result in delays in people becoming registered. This is of great importance, as accessing more support via sensory impairment teams and additional benefits requires proof of visual impairment.


I’m usually a little tired by the end of the day but also satisfied by supporting service users and letting them know we are here for them. There’s also satisfaction in supporting clinical staff within the hospital.


Medical staff are always busy and sometimes lack the time to sit and talk with patients. That’s where we can help the most by sitting down with people and listening. For some, this may be all they need. Even letting someone know that Visibility Scotland is there for them. That can make a world of difference.

Image of Paul Hanlon
Written by: Paul Hanlon

Posted on the: January 6, 2023
Share this story
Donate Skip to content