Helpforce launches new Back to Health campaign to support the health and care sector as it recovers from COVID-19 and battles through winter pressures
The physical and mental health of the UK has been badly affected by the pandemic and has resulted in record numbers of people waiting for treatment, which currently stands at 5.6 million, resulting in worsening health inequalities and putting NHS staff and services under increasing pressure.
Volunteers have been integral to the pandemic response through supporting patients and acting as a vital resource for healthcare professionals. 82% of staff with volunteer support feel they are able to deliver the care they aspire to and 71% of nurses said that volunteer support helps them feel less stressed.
Helen Hughes, End of Life volunteer at Watford General Hospital said: “During the pandemic I’d heard so many stories of people dying alone and they really stayed with me. Health professionals are under immense stress and as a volunteer, I’m proud to be able to help offer patients the extra support and care that doctors and nurses simply struggle to have the time to give outside of the amazing work they already carry out.”
Back to Health campaign
Helpforce is currently working with 50 NHS Trust partners in order to increase the impact of existing volunteering roles and through this three-year campaign, they aim to establish new partnerships to create high-impact volunteering opportunities and design new volunteering roles to tackle healthcare priorities, improve outcomes for patients and support staff wellbeing.
Mark Lever, Helpforce CEO said:
“Through this campaign, we aim to start a national conversation to raise awareness of the huge impact of volunteering on our health and care system. We have seen the power of volunteering when thousands of individuals stepped up to support the national vaccination programme, helping the UK to be one of the very few countries in the world to administer the most vaccine doses to date. We must continue harnessing the same level of support and energy of volunteers to help our health and care combat exceptional challenges ahead, such as growing waiting lists and staff burnout in the NHS.
“In order to invoke real change, we need to see volunteering at the top table at health and care organisations, an increase in investment within volunteering management infrastructure and volunteering integrated into health and care pathways.
“We know first-hand the benefits volunteers can bring both in freeing up staff time to focus on clinical activity and improving the patient experience. Failing to fully utilise the power of volunteers, as we progress from COVID, is a greatly missed opportunity that could have devastating consequences.”
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