Published on: 17 April 2020
NHS staff — you can now refer vulnerable people who are staying at home for support from the #NHSVolunteerResponders.

NHS Volunteer Responders is delivered by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSam Responders app.


750,000 volunteers have signed up since 24 March.


NHS Volunteer Responders can be asked to help individuals with tasks such as

collecting and delivering shopping and other essential supplies
delivering medicines from pharmacies
driving patients to appointments
bringing them home from hospital
making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home
transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS


Identity checks are carried out for all volunteers.

Enhanced DBS check for those volunteering as patient transport drivers.


Royal Voluntary Service has completed security checks and the scheme is fully operational.


Referrals for volunteer support can be made by any health and social care professional

Practice staff
Practice nurses
Social prescribing link workers
Hospital discharge teams
Community pharmacists
NHS 111
Ambulance trusts
Community health trusts that need volunteer support for patients leaving hospital
Local authorities
Social care providers


Who to refer


You can refer people who are at very high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, including:

People who have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’
People who are over 70 with underlying health conditions
People who are self-isolating who you consider to be especially vulnerable.

Continue to make use of your local schemes where they exist and please talk to your patients if in doubt about whether they require support.


Professional discretion should be used to determine if an individual would benefit from NHS Volunteer Responders.


How to refer


Submit details online via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal


Or call 0808 196 3382 to refer patients


Social care providers can make referrals with an or email address. Without one, they will need to await approval which may take up to 72 hours, or they can make referrals through their local authority. 


Once the referral is logged, ‘on duty’ volunteers in your area pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete. 


You can use the portal to track when the patient receives support. You can also use the portal or phone number to remove someone from the scheme if they no longer need assistance.


     All referrers will need

     Verbal consent to refer the patient (‘client’) for support from a volunteer

     The client’s name

The client’s phone number

The client’s address

To select the type of support required

To select how regularly the support is required

To make clear the priority

Your contact details

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