The ‘NHS Volunteer Responders’ scheme has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the Coronavirus outbreak. An “army” of hundreds of thousands of volunteers has stepped up to support vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from the virus. These volunteers are matched via an app with members of their community who need support to stay well at home.
The help on offer ranges from:
- support with grocery shopping
- collecting prescriptions
- ‘check in and chat’ phone calls.
- patient transport
- transport of medical equipment and supplies.
How to self-refer to get help
If you fall into one of the following categories, you can self-refer to the scheme. This means that you can ask for assistance directly yourself:
- People aged 70 years and older with underlying health conditions
- If you are in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ to Coronavirus group and have been sent a letter asking you to shield from the virus
- People who are pregnant
- If you are newly socially vulnerable as a result of Coronavirus
- People who have a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
Others with high-risk conditions could include:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People with serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised including because of cancer treatment
- People of any age with severe obesity e.g. body mass index (BMI) over 40
- Certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, dementia, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
If you meet any of these specific criteria, or you consider yourself medically vulnerable for another reason (for instance, you have Parkinson’s or Epilepsy) and you need help collecting shopping, medication or would like a telephone ‘check in and chat’ please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support.
NHS Volunteer Responders is being delivered by Royal Voluntary Service one of the country’s largest and longest-standing volunteering charities.
More information on how to self-refer can be found on the NHS Volunteer Responders website.
How to refer someone else to get help
Health and social care professionals can also refer people into this service whose medical conditions make them particularly vulnerable and at risk. It can be used by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, local authorities, charities and Local Healthwatch (and others!) where there is no alternative local support and where friends and family of the individual are unable to help.
More information on how to refer someone else to get help can be found on the NHS Volunteer Responders website.