'The NHS would collapse without them': the growing role of volunteers

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On the day that the NHS celebrates it's 70th birthday, this article from The Guardian highlights just how critical, but under-utilised, volunteers really are.

It's highly recommended reading but includes some worrying facts such as:

- Citizens Advice estimates that about a fifth of a GP's time is spent on problems that have non-medical causes, such as personal relationship problems, housing and unemployment concerns or work-related issues. Many of these can be addressed through advice and support provided by volunteers.

- No one knows how many volunteers there are in the NHS. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimates there are 3 million in health and care, while a 2016 British Social Attitudes survey said there were about 1.7 million. A report this year on volunteers in general practice by David Buck, a fellow at the King’s Fund thinktank, found a “surprising lack of knowledge” about the role and contribution of volunteers in the NHS, despite a long history of volunteering.

Read the article in full here:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/04/nhs-collapse-without-them-growing-role-volunteers

Photograph: Michael Crabtree/RVS

 

Karen Staniland-Platt