NHS volunteers will start receiving their first chores today as they help 2.5 million people at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 750,000 people – three times the original target – have signed up to join the “voluntary army” in the war against COVID-19 epidemic in the UK.
The Royal Voluntary Service, the charity leading the effort, will have completed checks on the high volume of requests by the end of Tuesday.
When will the volunteers start their tasks?
Thousands of approved volunteers will be offered tasks from today through the GoodSAM app and start helping people.
More volunteers are expected to receive requests in the coming weeks as referrals increase.
Healthcare professionals, pharmacists and local authorities can download help requests from a special portal.
Volunteers will take the job they want to do that day and finish the job when they are done.
Volunteers are available when their application goes into “service”.
What will the volunteers do?
- Drug delivery to pharmacies
- Drive patients to and from hospital appointments
- Make regular phone calls to check on isolated people at home
- Transportation of medical supplies and equipment for the NHS
Health and Welfare Secretary Matt Hancock said, “I want to thank everyone who signed up for being a volunteer NHS worker.
“Their incredible generosity means that we can now begin to help the underprivileged in our communities and, in turn, support our heroic NHS staff and welfare workers as they continue their exceptional work.
“The coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our country has faced, and it is truly impressive to see our entire nation coming together to help each other during this difficult time. “
The Duchess of Cornwall also thanked thousands of volunteers who “so kindly offered help” to the NHS during the crisis.
Camilla, president of the Royal Voluntary Service, also said: “Everyone working in the NHS is under unimaginable pressure day and night in this crisis.
“I am convinced that the presence of so many wonderful volunteers will encourage and support them.
“I greet each of you – and thank you with all my heart. “
Camilla, 72, tested negative for coronavirus, but isolated for 14 days after Prince Charles contracted the highly contagious respiratory infection.
Meanwhile, the latest official figures have shown new 439 patients died in the UK after contracting the coronavirus – bringing the total to 5,373.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent the night in intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened and he had difficulty breathing.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker