1. ITV Report

What to expect as an NHS volunteer working through the coronavirus crisis

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are ready to report for duty to help the NHS through the coronavirus crisis.

More than 750,000 people - three times the original target - signed up to join the "volunteer army", as the country answered the biggest call for volunteers in England since the Second World War.

Volunteers will come to the aid of 2.5 million at-risk people.

From today the volunteers will be:

  • delivering medicines from pharmacies;
  • driving patients to appointments;
  • bringing them home from the hospital;
  • making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home;
  • transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.

The scheme is being supported by the use of an app, which allows health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities to upload requests for help on the NHS Volunteer Responders referrer’s portal.

Hundreds of thousands of NHS Volunteer Responders will be able to report for duty today. Credit: PA

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The number of people who came forward to help some of the most vulnerable in their communities is truly extraordinary."

Today we begin to see the results of these tremendous acts of goodwill from the British public, with volunteers offering support to those who need it most.

Tackling this unprecedented coronavirus challenge means all of us pulling together, so on behalf of the NHS, thank you to everyone who is playing their part.

– Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service said they have been "overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness" across England and the many thousands of people wanting to "play their part".

We are already matching volunteers with vulnerable people in their local area to perform the tasks they have signed up to do. During the coming weeks and months

They will be called upon to help those who are vulnerable and at-risk who are self-isolating for their own protection. Not only will this help to relieve pressure on the NHS – but it will also save lives.

– Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service
From today the volunteers will be delivering medicines from pharmacies. Credit: PA

The Health Secretary, who tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago, said: “I want to thank every single person who signed up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder – their incredible generosity means we can now start helping those most in need across our communities and, in turn, support our heroic NHS staff and social care staff as they continue their outstanding work."

Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our country has faced, and it is truly awe-inspiring to see our whole nation coming together to help each other at this difficult time.

– Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary

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