On Tuesday, UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a new plan to recruit healthy low risk volunteers to support people who are unable to leave their homes because of the pandemic. The plan was to have volunteers help the National Health Service (NHS) by delivering supplies like groceries and medicine to people who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. He asked for the help of 250,000 volunteers to help with this program. You can check out his call for action below.
What happened the next day was nothing short of amazing. The number of volunteers more than doubled what the government had originally targeted. As of Wednesday there were 504,303 volunteers who the Prime Minister said would play a “absolutely crucial” role in their fight against coronavirus.
These volunteers will be helping the more than 1.5 millions people in the UK with underlying health conditions who have been asked to stay home for 12 weeks to shelter themselves from the virus. Volunteers can also register to chat with people in self-isolation, provide transport for patients who are medically fit for discharge and can assist in moving equipment, supplies, and medication between different NHS sites.
In addition to the half million volunteers, 11,000 retired doctors and nurses as well as 24,000 final year medical students have agreed to join the NHS to fight COVID-19.
Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England says there had been “outbreaks of altruism”, after he too was blown away by the response of the retired medics returning to the front line and the response from volunteers.
If you’re in the UK right now and you want to volunteer to help the NHS fight the COVID-19 outbreak, you can sing up through Good Sam, which is the group that is coordinating this response.
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