The NHS is looking for up to 250,000 volunteers to help up to 1.5 million people who are most at risk from the coronarvirus to stay well. Members of the public can sign up quickly and easily at goodsamapp.org/NHS to become NHS Volunteer Responders, who will be called on to do simple but vital tasks such as:
- delivering medicines from pharmacies;
- driving patients to appointments;
- bringing them home from hospital;
- or making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.
The NHS has reassured people that the majority of tasks can be undertaken while practicing safe social distancing and volunteers will receive guidance through a ‘getting started pack’.
Volunteers must be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms. Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone.
GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), who will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them. Some charities will also be able to refer people to the service.
Hackney Council have set up a web form for those looking to volunteer their skills or time to help local people via their volunteering hub: https://volunteering.hackney.gov.uk/. This page also has other resources for those involved in this effort.
The form asks people about their capacity, experience and importantly if they applicants are DBS (criminal records) checked, to enable organisers to allocate roles safely and appropriately, both via the Council and local, established organisations. All volunteering efforts will be compliant with social distancing.