Health professionals and pharmacists can from today send tasks to NHS volunteers who signed up to support the vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.
More than 750,000 volunteers are supporting 2.5 million ‘at risk’ people by delivering medicine from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments and hospitals and phoning to check on those self-isolating. They will also help to transport medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.
Health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities are now able to refer to ‘available’ volunteers through the GoodSAM app.
Volunteers can make themselves available by switching to ‘on-duty’. They can then choose which jobs they want to do on that day and close the task once it’s complete.
More than 750,000 people registered as responders within days — three times the original target — after the NHS called for a volunteer army to aid its fight against the pandemic.
The huge response has meant one million more vulnerable people will be supported under the initiative than was originally planned.
The Royal Voluntary Service, the charity overseeing the effort, is expected to have completed checks on all volunteer applications by the end of today.
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.’
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘I want to thank every single person who signed up to be a 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.’