How the NHS Volunteers Scheme can help you

The scheme can get shopping, prescriptions or even a friendly phone call to vulnerable people during the pandemic.
NHS Volunteer Responder webpage

The NHS Volunteers scheme was set up by the government early on in the pandemic to ensure shielding people could get essentials such as food or medicines, delivered by identity-checked volunteers.

It is a complementary service to local voluntary schemes, such as the charities who have worked with the council's One Reading Community Hub in our town.

As people start to come out of shielding in July and August, NHS Volunteers will still be available, until at least autumn 2020, for:

  • People who want to continue to stay at home or who need to avoid busier public spaces, such as supermarkets
  • People with caring responsibilities
  • People who are self-isolating because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms
  • People who’ve been instructed to self-isolate by the ‘Test and Trace’ service, because they’ve been near someone infected.
  • People who are self-isolating ahead of planned hospital care.
  • Frontline health and care workers.

How to request a NHS Volunteer Responder

Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm)

If you need help making a referral, you can ask your local Healthwatch to help you do this as they are authorised to make referrals (contact Healthwatch Reading if you live in the Reading borough)

Types of help on offer

The scheme offers five different types of volunteer:

  • Community Response Volunteer: Collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating/vulnerable, and delivering these supplies to their home.
  • Community Response Plus Volunteer: Collect and delivering shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and or significant vulnerabilities who are shielding.
  • Patient Transport Volunteer: Providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, as well as taking patients to their essential appointments.
  • NHS Transport Volunteer: Transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites, it may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.
  • Check in and Chat Volunteer: Providing short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

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