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NHS: 'Volunteer Army' Needed for COVID-19 Crisis

The NHS has called for an ‘army’ of 250,000 volunteers to help deal with the Coronavirus crisis and the 1.5m people who are at risk due to underlying health conditions.

The service will shortly be available to health professionals such as social work staff, midwifes, nurses, doctors, pharmacists and NHS 111 advisors. Certain charities can also refer people to the service.

It will soon be possible to ask for help for patients at risk through a call centre managed by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) who will allocate volunteers to people who need them nearby. All volunteers will receive training and appropriate background checks.

The roles being advertised are as follows:

Community Response Volunteer: This role involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home.

Patient Transport volunteer: This role supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring that they are settled safely back in to their home.

NHS Transport volunteer: This role involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites, it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.

Check-in and Chat volunteer: This role provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

Volunteers will be registered with an app which will show live and local volunteer tasks to pick from nearby. The programme is permitted under the new rules announced by the government on 23rd March 2020.

Those in higher-risk groups, such as pregnant women, over-70s and anyone with a pre-existing health condition are able to offer support by telephone. The service is not intended to replace existing neighbourhood support networks.

Anyone wishing to offer their services are encouraged to add their details on the site:

The RVS group was originally set up during the outbreak of WW2 when a million women offered their services to those in need.

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