Britons keen to help ease pressure on the NHS

Monday, 01 June 2015

Volunteers Week 2015Britons’ affection for the NHS is further evidenced through research released today which identifies a public appetite for volunteering to support the country’s health service.

According to the findings, from older people’s charity the Royal Voluntary Service, over a third (37 per cent) of Britons are planning or considering volunteering in some capacity to help the NHS.

The research, released as the UK celebrates Volunteers’ Week, and the thousands of individuals who already give up their time selflessly to help others, identifies the roles they would be keen to fill.

Volunteer roles held, or of interest, include volunteering in shops or cafès (40 per cent), practical support in the community (39 per cent), visiting patients in hospital (35 per cent), helping on wards (31 per cent), helping in the local GP surgery (29 per cent) and supporting patients as they leave hospital (25 per cent).

The value of volunteers in hospitals has already been recognised by the Government earlier this year, when £1.2m in additional grant funding was awarded to the Royal Voluntary Service, Age UK and the British Red Cross to introduce more volunteers into 29 NHS Trusts’ A&E departments.

A quarter (26 per cent) of those currently in a volunteering role that supports the NHS play a social role sharing a chat and a cup of tea or taking them out on social visits, 20 per cent volunteer in shops, cafès or on trolley services that visit the wards.

"Royal Voluntary Service volunteers have been supporting the NHS since it was founded in 1948 and we are delighted to see that volunteers are still willing to come forward to work alongside clinical teams to help support our greatest institution. Our trained volunteers can provide invaluable support in Hospitals, and in the community, helping to ease pressure faced by hospitals by providing the support and care and family or friend would, freeing up clinical staff to carry out medical care."

David McCullough, Chief Executive, Royal Voluntary Service

"My weekly shift is always busy and different, working with patients from all walks of life who for many and varied reasons are admitted to A & E in emergency situations. Often unprepared, patients find themselves alone and fearful, in pain, facing tests, assessments and possible admissions to wards. We offer support, a refreshment or conversation to pass the time and ease fears and anxieties. I find the work challenging at times but immensely rewarding being a small part of the Addenbrookes team providing A and E services."

Tony Stafford who volunteers for the Royal Voluntary Service at Addenbrooke’s Hosptial in Cambridge
Royal Voluntary Service has volunteering opportunities in hospitals all across Great Britain - to find out what you could do to help please visit our volunteer section and search for local opportunities by postcode.

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 35,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

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