Workforce and Training

25.03.20

More than 170,000 volunteers sign up to assist the NHS

Following rallying cries from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, calling for an army of 250,000 volunteers, he has seen the British people respond: with more than 170,000 people already signed up to work for the NHS volunteer scheme amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

As the NHS continues to prepare for and manage the rising numbers of Covid-19 patients, they have looked to volunteers to support the front line workers.

Mr Hancock described the ideal candidates to volunteer as being people in good health, who would carry out roles including “shopping, delivering medicines and supporting those who are shielding to protect their own health”.

Anyone wishing to sign up as a volunteer can do so online by visiting the NHS website, where they fill out a form and successful candidates will be given login details for the ‘GoodSAM’ Responder app.

National Medical Director of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, made the announcement that more than 170,000 people had already responded and filled out the forms. That roughly translates to 189 people a minute around the UK.

The ‘GoodSAM’ Responder app works by asking volunteers to mark themselves as ‘on duty’ when they are available to help with tasks in their local area. The majority of the tasks can be undertaken while still maintaining social distancing and all volunteers will receive a starter park containing helpful guidance to remain safe while carrying out the work.

Volunteers must be over the age of 18 and have no coronavirus symptoms. For those who are in higher-risk groups, such as those over the age of 70, pregnant or have underlying health conditions, can still volunteer and can offer support by telephone. Volunteering can also be paused should any applicants fall ill.

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