Guide: How NHS Volunteers Can Help You

Below is the guidance the NHS has published for its health care professionals on how to use the new army of NHS Volunteer Responders. It’s a useful reminder that there is another source of support for vulnerable people beyond the council’s volunteers and families and friends.

There’s also a self-referral number for those in need of immediate help.

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is a tool for all health and care professionals to use to help match volunteers with individual tasks to support people who are at very high risk from coronavirus or who need additional support as a result of the impact of COVID-19 where limited local support is available, for example if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’, if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions, or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable.

NHS Volunteer Responders can be asked to help individuals with tasks such as delivering shopping; delivering medicines from pharmacies; driving patients to appointments; bringing them home from hospital; and a ‘check in and chat’ phone call. Volunteers will receive role specific training where required and identity checks are carried out for all volunteers, with an enhanced DBS check for those volunteering as patient transport drivers.

Professional judgement should be used to determine if an individual would benefit from this support. Referrals should be made, with the consent of the patient, via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal.


People who are self-isolating can now ask for support from NHS Volunteer Responders. They can ask for help collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies. They can also ask for a ‘check in and chat’ phone call to help prevent loneliness. People can access this support by phoning the Royal Voluntary Service on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).

Further information about how to refer and what the volunteers can do is at this link: