Since the call for the general public to sign up to be NHS volunteers yesterday, more than 170,000 people have signed up to donate their time.
In less than 16 hours, the number had surpassed 170,000 people. The Government has called for a 250,000 strong ‘army’ of volunteers to help the NHS in this time of Coronavirus crisis.
As he stood in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Government’s daily briefing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said these volunteers would able to boost the Government’s efforts to help those most vulnerable to Coronavirus, such as the elderly and the imuno-compromised.
“We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health, to help the NHS, for shopping, for delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded to protect their own health.”
It is an unprecedented rate of sign ups for a scheme on this level.
If you sign up, you could be ringing up elderly citizens to help with loneliness, delivering goods to ‘at risk’ households or myriad other things.
They are asking for ‘Community Response volunteers’, Patient Transport volunteers,
NHS Transport volunteers and Check-in and Chat volunteers.
Community Response volunteers will be “collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home.”
Patient Transport volunteers are set to “support 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 volunteers are set to help “transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites, it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.”
Finally, Check in and Chat volunteers will “provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.”
Launching the appeal for help, Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS Director of Primary Care, said: “Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, which is why we’re rallying the troops and telling the public: your NHS needs you.
“Across the country people are playing their part in the fight against the virus by staying home for the next 12 weeks, to protect themselves, others and the NHS.
“But many of those shielding will need our support to do that, and by signing up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder, people who are well can do their bit too.”
To sign up, you just have to visit goodsamapp.org/NHS and fill in your details – you will need your passport or drivers licence to do so, though.
The NHS has teamed up with the GoodSAM app, which is a tool to help people offer services to people who are in need and provide it free of charge.
The news comes as Mr. Hancock also announced that a new hospital will be built in East London, at the ExCeL Centre.
It will be known as the Nightingale Hospital and is set to take its first patients next week. The temporary hospital will have two words for 2,000 people and medics will be assisted by the military, the Health Secretary said.
“The NHS Nightingale Hospital will comprise two wards, each of 2,000 people.
“With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need.”
Mr Hancock said a call for people to return to the NHS has been “incredibly successful”.
It has seen 12,000 former NHS workers return to work for the service on the frontlines. This includes 2,660 doctors, over 2,500 pharmacists and 6,147 nurses.
On top of that, 5,500 final year medics and 18,700 student nurses will move into frontline work early.
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