Coronavirus: Call to Wales to match the English volunteering program


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Councils coordinate volunteer response in Wales, says Minister of Health

A volunteering program only in England to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis should be offered in Wales, said Conservative MEPs.

People can sign up to help provide food and medicine, call lonely people and drive patients to their appointments.

The Welsh Tories say it should be UK-wide – and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to raise the issue with the Welsh government.

The Welsh Minister for Health has said that councils coordinate volunteers in Wales.

“In Wales we have already made arrangements for volunteers who want to help support health care and social services at the moment,” said Vaughan Gething at a press conference earlier.

But it was dismissed as a “piecemeal operation” by a conservative.

The GoodSAM website was created to recruit volunteers to help the 1.5 million people in England who are most exposed to the virus and who are “protected”.

Doctors and nurses can refer people to volunteers. To date, approximately 405,000 have joined.

The program, which includes an application to find the tasks to choose, searches for people who can:

  • collect purchases, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating
  • transporting medically fit patients
  • transport equipment, supplies and / or medicines between NHS services and sites
  • offer telephone support to people at risk of loneliness

In Wales, willing volunteers can contact their local councils or register on the Volunteering Wales website.

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Volunteer program helps find people who can collect and deliver food

The boards “will coordinate the contribution of volunteers for those who wish to volunteer,” said Gething. “This information will be shared with the voluntary sector and in fact the NHS. ”

Gething said the British government’s program has been touted in the media as being UK-wide when “it is an announcement only in England”.

Retired computer professor Peter Lager of Rhyl said that he had tried to register via the GoodSAM website, but could not go any further because he lived in Wales.

“It seems a little odd that I have to figure out how to do it for Wales, [and] that there is nothing on the NHS site that directs me to the equivalent in Wales, “he said.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb said there were “a lot of requests” from the people of Wales to be part of Operation GoodSAM.

“Wales should be on the main program from the start,” he said. “This emergency requires a joint effort across the UK. ”

“Fragmentary operation”

James Davies, Conservative MP for Vale of Clwyd, said, “I am not convinced that a piecemeal operation based on volunteers contacting their local council will be able to handle the very difficult situation that may soon arise. we.

“I urge decentralized administrations to allow this to become a scheme covering the whole of the United Kingdom. ”

In response to Prime Minister’s questions, Montgomeryshire Conservative MP Craig Williams asked Johnson to call the Welsh government “and say let’s work together”.

“In general, the four nations of our United Kingdom work very, very well together,” replied the Prime Minister.

“But we will go to the Welsh government this afternoon on the issue. ”

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Wales to support the NHS, local services and their community during this very difficult time.

“It is important that people who volunteer do it safely, without endangering themselves or others.

“People can sign up on the Volunteering Wales site. ”


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