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Royal Voluntary Service aims to double NHS volunteers

In a new partnership with HelpForce announced today, the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is aiming to double the number of volunteers in the NHS by 2021.

HelpForce, a  Community Interest Company set up at the end of last year and led by Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, is aiming to integrate volunteers into the heart of the NHS over the next five years.

Encouragingly, new research conducted by YouGov for RVS found that over one fifth of adults in the UK would consider volunteering to support the NHS. If just half of them were to do so for two hours a month, this would equate to more than 16.5 million working days a year being donated.

The poll also found that over half felt volunteers could increase patient and visitor satisfaction by providing vital non-medical support on wards.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive, Royal Voluntary Service, said: "Our NHS is envied across the world and with continued developments in medicine helping us to live longer, it is no surprise there are constantly new pressures facing the service.

“As a society we need to find new ways to support our NHS and I can see huge opportunities for us and others to do more through the gift of voluntary service. From expanding our existing services such as Home from Hospital to exploring new ways to relieve some of the pressures, I believe volunteers can support our NHS to have more time for patient care.”

Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, founder of HelpForce , said: “Volunteering is good for all of us - patients, staff, communities, as well as the volunteers themselves. This research shows the huge appetite among the public to get involved and support the NHS, and the time is right to make the most of this opportunity.

“This partnership and the resources Royal Voluntary Service has dedicated will ensure we develop robust, tested, national-level initiatives that can transform the volunteering experience.”

Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, recently discussed the vital role volunteers have played in West Suffolk and how they are an untapped recourse of potential for the NHS.


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