In less than 24 hours, some 250,000 young people have heeded the government’s call for volunteers.
Intended to relieve pressure on an already strained NHS, the recruitment drive searching for young people over the age of eighteen and of good health exceeded its target this morning, not even 24 hours after it began.
Organised by GoodSAM, the NHS Volunteer Responders will be all over the country helping roughly 1.5 million Britons with underlying health conditions who have been advised to stay home. Volunteers will be supporting the NHS through the coronavirus crisis in one of four simple ways:
The community response volunteer will collect shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating. The patient transport volunteer will chauffeur medically fit and discharged patients back to their home, whereas the NHS transport volunteer will be transporting equipment, medication, and supplies between sites. Finally, the check-in and chat volunteers will be picking up the phones and calling members of our community at risk of loneliness. Each volunteer will receive a ‘getting started’ pack which will further detail their roles as well as provide further guidance.
In a call for volunteers on Tuesday, 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.” She continued: “This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where a single action from one person can be the difference between life and death for another, and simple acts of kindness are going to make all the difference in keeping some of the most vulnerable people well and out of hospital.”
This outpouring of support by the young people of Britain follows the 11,000 former medics who have agreed to return to the health service, as well as more than 24,000 final year student nurses and medics who have also signed up. This news also follows Tuesday’s announcement that London’s ExCeL Centre is being turned into a huge makeshift hospital.
It might be strange and testing times, but it does feel good to see Brits willing to help each other out. If you feel inspired and would like to offer your services, you can sign up as a volunteer here.