Here's everything you need to know about the NHS coronavirus volunteer army and how you can help

The NHS has called for 250,000 volunteers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The NHS has called for 250,000 volunteers

The war on coronavirus is ongoing and the NHS has announced that it is ‘rallying the troops’.

The NHS is looking for 250,000 volunteers to join their ‘volunteer army’ to help vulnerable people stay safe and well from their homes.

Up to 1.5 million people have been asked to isolate themselves for protection due to underlying health conditions, now quarantined to their homes. The NHS volunteers are needed to help look after them.

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What jobs will the NHS volunteers be needed for?

- Delivering medicines from pharmacies - Driving patients to appointments - Bringing them home from hospital - Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home

How can we sign up?

Members of the public can sign up easily at to become NHS Volunteer Responders, with more than 170,000 people signing up in one night.

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‘GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), who will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them,’ the NHS website explains. ‘Some charities will also be able to refer people to the service.’

‘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,’ explained Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS Director of Primary Care. ‘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.

‘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.

‘NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to ensure those who need care receive it, and creating a bank of helpers that they can call upon to support their most vulnerable patients through this difficult time is going to be invaluable, so I would urge anyone who can to sign up as an NHS Volunteer Responder today.’

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‘In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together as part of the national effort to protect the most vulnerable, reduce pressures on our NHS and care system and save lives,’ added Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock. ‘If you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today to help the most vulnerable people in our communities as an NHS Volunteer Responder.’

He continued: ‘Your help has the potential to make a real difference to some of those most affected by this outbreak – from delivering essential prescriptions to calling to check on the wellbeing of those self-isolating.

‘I am immensely proud of how the whole country is coming together to help one another – we must continue to listen to and live by the latest medical and scientific advice and through this national effort we can truly make a difference.’

NHS - we bow down to you.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.