Mags Higgins

For the last five years Mags Higgins has dedicated one evening a week bringing music and personal messages to eight hospitals across the Glasgow and Paisley area.

Mags swaps her day job as Senior Public Affairs Officer for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) to join an 80+ strong team at the Hospital Broadcasting Service (HBS). This is a charitable organisation which entertains patients at their bedsides and provides that much needed link to the outside world.

“I head up the team on a Monday night ensuring that everything happens to achieve our goal of patient satisfaction. . . .”

Each evening the broadcasting kicks off at 7pm with a specialist show, such as Ceilidh or country music then at 8pm, the Open Line begins. The Open Line is the mainstay of the Service, the show where patients choose the music.

Seeing the friendly face of a request collector and hearing a familiar tune can be uplifting and can bring a smile to the face of many patients across Greater Glasgow.

Mags and the HBS team use portable recording equipment to give visitors the opportunity to record personal messages for patients. These are then played out that evening.

The HBS request collectors are always out on wards, chatting with patients and their visitors while collecting requests for the Open Line. Every patient who makes a request is guaranteed to hear their message and even if the team doesn’t have the exact song they are after, something similar will be played.

Mags started out at HBS keen to gain practical radio experience and she soon ended up enjoying “being part of a community based organisation and giving something back.” That’s the beauty of hospital radio – its all about the patients.

“I head up the team on a Monday night ensuring that everything happens to achieve our goal of patient satisfaction. This involves organising my team effectively to get maximum hospital coverage and plenty of requests, production assistance for the presenters as well as the nightly admin and cleaning tasks.”

Mags and the team at HBS regularly carry out fundraising to ensure that the service continues to fulfil its commitment. Be it rattling a bucket in a shopping centre at organised events, or abseiling down the Finnieston Crane, each volunteer needs to make £100 a year to ensure HBS can pay the bills and keep up to date with the latest technology.

“The Monday Team organised a gig night one year with a few local bands, which was great and raised £220 in one night.”

Of course, all involved at HBS, like Mags, offer their time freely in return for the satisfaction of helping the community.

Mags Higgins

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