There are more than 90,000 volunteers in NHS hospitals. There are a further 10,000 volunteers in ambulance trusts and significant numbers in primary care.
Most NHS trusts have a dedicated volunteer manager who supports the development of volunteering roles, manages NHS volunteers and often manages the relationship with voluntary sector partners. NHS organisations often work in partnership with a wide range of voluntary organisations, from the large and well-known, such as the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance, to smaller local organisations such as stroke support groups.
Many of these organisations have long-standing relationships and arrangements with the NHS nationally and locally, supporting the delivery of day-to-day services and providing extra capacity in response to emergencies.
The NHS, in collaboration with The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and GoodSam are currently recruiting 750,000 community facing volunteers to support the 1.5 million people currently being asked to shield themselves due to underlying health conditions. More information can be found on the RVS website
In relation to COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Improvement has published guidance to support the effective deployment of volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak
. The guidance recommends that volunteering continues during this period but asks employers to review the risks, in line with recent guidance and local business continuity and emergency plans.