Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Patient transport buggy at Repat named after Simpson and his donkey

1 June 2021

Patient Services Assistant (PSA), Helen Gregory, has worked at our Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital for more than 12 years.

“As a PSA, some of my duties include moving equipment around the hospital, delivering bloods and specimens to pathology, as well as transporting patients,” says Helen.

One of Helen’s most high-profile jobs is driving patients around the Repat in the transport buggy.

“As you know the Repat is quite large, and sometimes patients end up in the wrong spot.

“Staff usually give me a call so that I can pick patients up in the buggy and take them to where they need to be,” says Helen. 

The buggy has also been getting a work-out helping patients get to our high-volume COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Repat.

Veteran Liaison Officer, Robert Winther, explains that when they recently had to purchase a new buggy, they saw it as an opportunity to pay homage to the Repat’s proud history as a military hospital.

“A wife of a Vietnam Veteran suggested the name ‘Simpson and his donkey” or “Simmo” for short, which we thought was brilliant. And the rest is history really,” says Robert.

The transport buggy is named after historic figure, Private John Simpson, who used donkeys to transport wounded soldiers through Shrapnel Gully in Gallipoli during World War I.

“The buggy has its own identity with its custom “Simpson” and “Simmo” number plates, red poppies and donkey artwork,” says Robert.

Helen says that she doesn’t have too much in common with John Simpson, other than they both “work alone, pick up people who need assistance and take them to their destination.”

“Initially some patients are afraid to get on the buggy, but once they’re on, they seem to find it fun.

“I enjoy spending time with patients as I take them around the hospital.

 “If you ever see ‘Simmo’ around the Repat, give me a wave and I might toot the horn!” says Helen.