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There's an army of potential volunteers keen to support NHS staff, says charity

RVS survey finds one in five people would happily donate their time to the health service

RVS survey finds one in five people would happily donate their time to the health service


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One in five adults would be happy to volunteer to support the NHS, with many already helping out, a study reveals.

A survey of 2,000 people found that 4% were currently volunteering in some capacity to help the health service.

The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) said its research suggested that more than 16 million working days could be donated every year to support staff. This is based on half of the 22% of British adults who would consider volunteering giving two hours a month to the NHS.

Survey respondents said they would: 

  • Provide companionship to patients on wards 
  • Work in shops, cafes or for the trolley services that go out on wards 
  • Helping on wards during mealtimes
  • Assist patients to travel to and from their appointments
  • Leading activities and social groups for patients

Double aims

The RVS has formed a partnership with HelpForce, who work with NHS organisations to boost volunteering. The collaboration is aiming to double the number of volunteers in the NHS over the next few years.

Commenting on the research, RVS chief executive Catherine Johnstone said: 'Our NHS is envied across the world, and with continued developments in medicine helping us to live longer. It is no surprise there are constantly new pressures facing the service.

'As a society we need to find new ways to support our NHS and I can see huge opportunities for us, and others, to do more through the gift of voluntary service.

'From expanding our existing services to exploring new ways to relieve some of the pressures, I believe volunteers can support our NHS to have more time for patient care.'

'Volunteering is good for all of us'

Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett

HelpForce founder Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett said: 'Volunteering is good for all of us – patients, staff, communities, as well as the volunteers themselves.

'This research shows the huge appetite among the public to get involved and support the NHS, and the time is right to make the most of this opportunity.'

Read the volunteering survey findings in full


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