More than half a million people have signed up to help the NHS – double the government’s recruitment target.
At his daily press conference on Wednesday (25 March), the Prime Minister offered “a special thank you to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS.”
Mr Johnson said they would play “an absolutely crucial” role in the health service.
What work will the volunteers do?
The help will be directed at the 1.5 million UK residents who have been asked to shield themselves because they have underlying illnesses.
The roles the volunteers will take on are:
Community Response – Collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their homes.
Patient Transport – Supporting the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring they are settled back in their homes.
NHS transport – Moving equipment, supplies and medication between NHS hospitals and sites, as well as potentially helping pharmacies deliver drugs.
Check-in and Chat – Providing short-term telephone support to people who are at risk of loneliness as a result of self-isolation.
10,000 retired medics rejoin NHS
NHS England medical director, Stephen Powis, said he was “bowled over” by the show of altruism from members of the public, and by the dedication shown by retired health workers returning to frontline care.
More than 10,000 former doctors and nurses have agreed to rejoin the NHS to combat staff shortages.
And almost 25,000 final year medical students and student nurses will also work in the health service to alleviate pressure on frontline services.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone over the age of 18 who is in good health can volunteer to help the NHS. You can do so on the Good SAM website.