Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Pressure on Welsh Government to adopt NHS volunteer scheme

Welsh newspaper readers have been told about the England-only volunteer scheme. Credit: Sun/Independent

Public enthusiasm for the drive in England to recruit a quarter of a million NHS volunteers has prompted Conservative politicians to call for an identical scheme in Wales.

On Tuesday, the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock appealed for people in good health to help the NHS by carrying out tasks like delivering medicines and supporting people who are isolating to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Three people every minute have been signing up for the English scheme, with the total now at more than half a million.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Welsh Conservative MP Craig Williams asked the Prime Minister to try to get the Welsh Government on board.

I welcome the Prime Minister’s approach to devolution.

Wales has two Governments, and his mature approach, and that of the Welsh Government, has meant that we have delivered fast legislation and efficient help, but any divergence on policy or communication causes anxiety for my constituents.

The Secretary State for Health and Social Care has made an announcement on volunteering. Sadly, Welsh volunteers cannot take part in that scheme - we are cross-border - so will the Prime Minister get on the phone to the Welsh Government and say, “Let’s work together”?

– Craig Williams MP, Mongomeryshire
Matt Hancock appealed for people in good health to help the NHS by carrying out tasks Credit: PA

Boris Johnson replied that in general the four nations of the United Kingdom have been working "very well together" and said his government would be getting in touch with the Welsh Government to discuss the issue.

The First Minister was addressing a news conference of his own when Matt Hancock made the announcement.

Political Editor Adrian Masters got an immediate response from Mark Drakeford that the Welsh Government could shape what was happening spontaneously in Wales.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething later suggested that local councils were best placed to organise volunteers in Wales.

Vaughan Gething suggested that local councils were best placed to organise volunteers in Wales. Credit: PA

But Vaughan Gething's response drew swift criticism from another Welsh Conservative MP, Stephen Crabb saying people should be "part of the main scheme from the get go".

There has been similar calls by Shadow Health Minister, Angela Burns AM.

There can be no doubt that we’re facing greatest crisis of our lives, and one that demands a collective and unified approach to deal with it.

The people of Wales have always supported the NHS, and now more than ever, they must be given the chance to become actively involved in it.

– Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns AM

But the Health Minister remains opposed to the idea of "competing schemes of volunteers" in Wales and urges people keen to help others to contact their local council.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know