From Monday 8 June, the NHS volunteer responders will extend their support to health and social care workers across the country, helping them to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people so they can focus on and continue their vital work.
NHS volunteer responders is a new scheme established as part of the COVID-19 response, involving volunteers who carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England. The scheme helps people to stay safe and well at home.
The support of NHS volunteer responders is now available to anyone who:
- has been advised to shield by a health professional is vulnerable for another reason (for instance disability, pregnancy, over 70, have Parkinson’s, epilepsy, or are vulnerable due to a mental health condition)
- is self-isolating because they have confirmed COVID-19 or suspected symptoms, or they have been in contact with someone who has
- is someone with caring responsibilities, if this support helps them to continue in their caring role
NHS volunteer responders have been recruited for 5 key roles:
- community response volunteer: this involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating or vulnerable, and delivering these supplies to their home
- community response volunteer plus: these volunteers can collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and or significant vulnerabilities, and who are shielding
- check-in and chat volunteer: this provides short-term telephone support to individuals who would benefit from someone to talk to during their self-isolation
- patient transport volunteer: these volunteers providing transport by car to patients who are medically fit for discharge, as well as taking patients to their essential appointments
- NHS transport volunteer: this involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites; it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery
NHS volunteer responders are not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS.
The NHS and Royal Voluntary Service continues to encourage those needing support to self-refer by calling 0808 196 3646.