A need to put in place well-designed and properly managed volunteer initiatives to boost NHS performance

22nd September 2022

Our response to the announcement made by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Thérèse Coffey, on 22nd September, in which she "invoked the spirit of the Covid-19 emergency, when 1mn people volunteered to support the NHS and social care. She suggested that this corps should step forward again as part of a new “national endeavour”.':

Maeve Hully, Director of Volunteering at Helpforce, said:

"The challenges facing the NHS require multiple solutions, but the power of volunteering is an essential part of the answer. Volunteering across health and care is a proven yet massively underused asset. We have already seen the huge power of volunteering throughout the pandemic, and now we must unlock that power to combat exceptional challenges ahead.

"Our research shows that almost 80% of NHS staff strongly agree that volunteers support them in their work. And the vast majority of patients who receive volunteer support say they are shown excellent care and compassion. For volunteers themselves, it provides purpose. By involving local people, volunteering can help to deliver more effective, people-centred services.

"We know that people want to support their community and all kinds of public services stand to benefit – we need to urgently unleash this potential. But there is no point in calling people to volunteer without effective roles ready for them. To maximise volunteering, we need Government, local authorities, health and care leaders and community organisations to unite to put in place well-designed and properly managed volunteer initiatives.”