September 23, 2020

Coronavirus: Thousands volunteer to help NHS with vulnerable

Some 250,000 people have signed up in a single day to volunteer with the NHS after a recruitment drive to help the vulnerable amid the coronavirus crisis.

The helpers are needed for delivering food and medicines, driving patients to appointments and phoning the isolated.

The scheme is one of a number aimed at relieving pressure on the NHS.

About 11,000 former medics have also agreed to return to the health service and more than 24,000 final year student nurses and medics will join them.

Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said there had been “outbreaks of altruism” and he was “bowled over” by the medics returning to the front line and the response from volunteers.

The government scheme to recruit 250,000 helpers – who must be over 18 and in good health – went live on Tuesday.

By Wednesday morning, they had exceeded their target, after many thousands signed up to Good Sam, the group coordinating the response.

The help is being targeted at the 1.5 million people with underlying health conditions who have been asked to shield themselves from the virus by staying at home for 12 weeks.

On Tuesday, it was also announced that the NHS will treat coronavirus patients in a makeshift field hospital in the ExCeL Centre in east London.

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