Volunteering plays key role in community-focused care

Do not underestimate volunteers' contribution to care, says chief nurse

England’s chief nurse has called on health and care leaders to consider how voluntary services can be developed in their organisations.

Jane Cummings made the call to mark Volunteers Week 2016 and said she wanted to thank the three million volunteers who give their time to support health, welfare and disability organisations.

She said: ‘Volunteers make a big difference and their impact on the health and care services we provide should not be underestimated.’

She added that innovative forms of volunteering should be explored that link to social prescribing. ‘We need well supported and trained staff and volunteers alongside safe and professional practice,’ she said.

Professor Cummings said that volunteering was a key part of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View and critical to providing more community-focused care. She said recent research by the King’s Fund suggested around 24 million British adults would consider volunteering in the health or care sector.

‘We need to realise the opportunities this brings and ensure we enable this to happen,’ she added.

NHS England is holding a free event on strategic volunteer management for NHS trusts, vanguard sites and providers at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in London on July 11.

Further information:

Learn more about Volunteers' Week.

Read blogs by volunteers about their impact on health and care here.