Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds give their time, skills and expertise to support the NHS. The NHS70 volunteering group has worked/works to support the health system get a better understanding of the value and impact of volunteering.
Ahead of the UK Health Show Volunteering Programme Manager Jim Smith answers a few questions about NHS @ 70 Volunteers.
The NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations has provided a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the vital contribution volunteers make across the service and to thank them for their hard work and support. We have also used this milestone year to increase volunteering and social action by young people in health and care by supporting the development of new opportunities for volunteering.
The commitment of the NHS70 Partners including: NHS England, NHS Improvement, Health Education England , Step up to Serve, Helpforce, The National Association of Volunteer Managers, NCVO, Volunteering Matters, the Association of Volunteer Managers and Macmillan working together to drive the success of the NHS70 campaign. But the real heroes are the volunteers who give an unimaginable amount of hours per year to provide invaluable additional support to patients, staff and services and especially the managers and partner organisations that co-ordinate and support them.
The ongoing pledge campaign is edging closer towards having seventy health providers who have committed to develop volunteer placements for young people aged between 16-25, and create other opportunities for young people to be involved in the development or delivery of health services. This is a phenomenal response to the call for action that Sir Bruce Keogh, the then Medical Director of NHS England, launched at the end of 2017. Another highlight is seeing the impact of volunteering on young people; on their confidence and by providing a greater understanding of the breadth of career opportunities across health, but moreover, the positive impact they can have on patients and staff.
The NHS 70 partners understand the impact that volunteers can bring: to patient and staff experience, to the provider organisation, and to the volunteers themselves.
Our advice to health providers is to get a volunteer lead/champion on your board to help your organisation align volunteering with your strategy and ensure it is a sustainable part of your organisation
5. In the year that the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, what would you say needs to happen to ensure it continues to deliver the best possible care for another 70+ years?
The expansion and diversification of high impact volunteer roles, increased volunteer programs and the continued support of the UK’s volunteers, working with local and national volunteering organisations, which will support the best quality care for patients for many years to come.
6. What are you most looking forward to at the UK Health Show 2018?
Meeting and inspiring health colleagues to get excited about volunteering and highlighting the wealth of benefits a volunteering programme can bring.