More than 650,000 people sign up to be NHS volunteers

PUBLISHED: 16:53 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:03 26 March 2020

More than 250,000 people have signed up to be NHS volunteers. Picture Tom Merton/Getty Images

More than 250,000 people have signed up to be NHS volunteers. Picture Tom Merton/Getty Images

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More than 650,000 people have now signed up to

On Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock asked for a quarter of a million people to donate their time to help the 1.5m people isolating for 12 weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.

After 170,000 signed up overnight, the appeal exceeded its target in just 24 hours as 405,000 people “answered the call”, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

This number has now increased to 660,680 in the first two days.

NHS England medical director Stephen Powis described it as “an absolutely astonishing response”, while NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The response we are seeing from the public to join us in our country’s greatest time of need is extraordinary, and on behalf of everyone working in the NHS I would like to thank each and every person who has signed up to volunteer – you will be, without a shadow of a doubt, helping us to save lives.

“These are uncertain times for all of us, but they have shown the kindness of our country, and have highlight once again just how much people value the health service and every single person working in it.

“And to anyone else considering joining the ranks of our new volunteer army – the NHS is always there for you, and now is your time to be there for us, and for each other too.”

Those who have signed up can help others by doing jobs such as driving patients to appointments or making regular phone calls to those in isolation.

GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for at-risk patients through a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service, which will match people who need help with volunteers who live near them.

People can sign up to the service here:

• For more inspirational stories about how people are coming together to help others in need, join our ‘Here to Help’ Facebook group!

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