Bert at ready in QEII buggy

Bert O’Neil in his buggy. d402720
Bert O’Neil in his buggy. d402720

Every Tuesday afternoon, Mr O’Neil follows his route through hospital hallways and across the main entrances on Hospital Avenue with many stop-offs in between.

‘I do enjoy helping people out, it gets in your blood I suppose,’ he said.

‘Whether they’re patients or visitors, people always have somewhere to go and something to get done, and I can help them get there.

‘I have a horn ” but I would scare people half to death if I used it. People tend to get out of the way quick smart.’ The Scarborough resident of 55 years drove Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital patients to and from their homes for 13 years before graduating to the buggy.

Mr O’Neil said the hospital was an interesting place at which to volunteer because he came across many different characters every day,

‘Most of my passengers are elderly people whose walking capacity is quite low. If they want to talk, I will listen. But I try not to pry, it’s their business.’

Though nearing his 90th birthday, Mr O’Neil said he had no plans of putting on the brakes.

‘I’ll keep driving the buggy until I feel as though I would be irresponsible, or until they kick me out,’ he said.

Volunteer co-ordinator Jessica Allan said QEII was always looking for people to put their hand up and volunteer.

‘Although we have six volunteers at the moment, we have four shifts that we need to fill,’ Ms Allan said.

‘It’s a very sociable job and our drivers get a lot out of it.’

Eligible applicants must have a current driver’s licence, commit to at least one four-hour shift a week and be passionate about helping patients and visitors.

Call the QEII TravelSmart Junction on 9346 4085 or email jessica.allen@health.wa.gov.au.